Posted on: July 11, 2011 3:55 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 4:02 pm

Pacman Jones sounds, gulp, innocent

I don't like Pacman Jones. If he moved next door tomorrow morning, my house would be on the market by lunch.

That said, I'm tempted to believe Jones didn't deserve what happened to him outside a bar early Sunday morning in Cincinnati.

Read this for yourself. No need to give you the play-by-play, but the key passage is here, courtesy of Jones' agent, Peter Schaffer:

Jones was out with friends when another female threw a punch at his wife. Jones walked up to police and said he wanted to file charges. According to other witnesses, Jones became upset as the woman who punched his wife started walking away -- while police became more concerned about Jones. After he uttered a few profanities at officers, they arrested him.

If that's the way it went down, Pacman was arrested for trying to do the right thing and losing his temper when his actions went unrewarded.

Let me put it like this: If the agent's version of the story is true, you could substitute "Gregg Doyel" for "Pacman Jones" -- because my reaction would have been similar.

If the agent's version is remotely close to accurate -- and that's a huge "if" -- the police owe Pacman an apology. And Pacman owes the police a lawsuit.

Update (4:02 p.m.): I forgot to mention, Pacman Jones already has been wrongly arrested once by cops in Cincinnati. Happened in October.

Category: NFL
Tags: Pacman Jones
Posted on: July 10, 2011 4:15 pm
Edited on: July 10, 2011 5:13 pm

Women win classic ... hope you were watching

That was one of the most compelling games of international sport -- any sport -- in U.S. history. Hope you were watching. Hope Solo hopes you were watching, too.

Problem is, it was soccer. And not just soccer, but women's soccer. And so society being what it is, this game -- a U.S. victory against Brazil in penalty kicks on Sunday in a World Cup quarterfinal -- probably won't go down in history with some of the others unmistakably on that list, all-timers like the U.S. men's hockey team's win over the Soviets in 1980 and the U.S. men's basketball team's loss to the Soviets in 1972.

Sunday's soccer game wasn't for the ultimate championship, but neither was that hockey game in 1980. The gold-medal game was against Finland, but I digress.

This soccer game on Sunday, this women's soccer game, was the most compelling soccer match in American history. If you won't give me the first sentence of this blogg post, surely you'll give me that last one. The U.S. women have won world titles before -- two in the World Cup, three in the Olympics -- but there has never been a game like this one.

A game with awful officiating, flopping opponents, a goal in the final seconds of extra time in the latter of two overtimes to force penalty kicks, then a final penalty kick by Ali Krieger to finish off the Brazilians.

The Americans were screwed by blind officiating on at least one goal, then had to play 10-on-11 -- and I'm telling you, it was more like 10-on-14 counting the officials -- after Rachel Buehler was sent off the field with a red card on a penalty against Marta that probably wasn't a penalty and definitely wasn't worthy of expulsion. That led to a Brazilian penalty kick that U.S. keeper Hope Solo swatted away, only to be told to do it again because, well, as of this writing I'm not sure why Solo had to do it again.

All I know is she couldn't, and Marta scored on the retake, and a 1-0 U.S. lead became a 1-1 tie. Brazil eventually went ahead 2-1, but Abby Wambach buried a second-overtime header seconds before the game would end in defeat, and it was on to penalty kicks.

This was a victory for the United States, yes, but it was also a victory for class and dignity. Brazil showed very little of it with the theatrical flopping and bush-league stalling tactics.

I'm not sure the better team won. But I'm sure the classier team won. And if you're thinking to yourself, "This blogg post sure was written by an American homer," I'd tell you that you're damn right.

Category: Soccer
Tags: USA
Posted on: July 8, 2011 12:11 pm

Kerry Collins no HOFer -- but the next 5 guys are

Kerry Collins isn't a Hall of Famer. If he makes it past the first cut of voting some day, I'd be stunned -- even if he is 11th all-time in passing yards (40,441) and ninth in completions (3,439) and attempts (6,163).

Collins' career record as a starter was 15 games below .500 and he's 116th all-time in passer rating (73.9), and that's where his Hall of Fame candidacy ends. He wasn't a great player, just an accumulator of great statistics. He's Don Sutton. Ahem.

Anyway, Collins' retirement clears the way for the top five (technically) active quarterbacks in terms of career passing yards -- all of whom will be Hall of Famers, as it should be for such a significant statistic: Brett Favre (first, 71,838), Peyton Manning (third, 54,828), Donovan McNabb (15th, 36,250), Drew Brees (17th, 35,266) and Tom Brady (19th, 34,744).

If you're complaining about the ring-less McNabb, stop. He has gone to six Pro Bowls, is 23rd in passer rating and one of the most accomplished runners at quarterback, and has a lifetime record of 97-57-1 as a starter.

Category: NFL
Tags: Hall of Fame
Posted on: July 6, 2011 11:41 am

Same old Tiki

Tiki Barber hasn't played in five seasons. He's 36 years old. And he's a pariah, as socially unpopular as a law-abiding guy can be.

And he wants to return to the NFL, but it's better than that. He has a list of two teams, only two, that'll he'll deign to play for. One is the Bucs. The other is the Steelers.

Both teams won at least 10 games last season. Both teams have popular young coaches famous for getting along with their players. And the Steelers just reached the Super Bowl, for crying out loud.

Those are the teams an old, rusty, walking joke of a human being is willing to play for.

Good luck with that, Tiki. The next time I scoop my backyard for dog poop, I want to strike oil.

We have the same odds.

Category: NFL
Posted on: July 5, 2011 10:06 am

I miss Adam Dunn

Adam Dunn had two hits last night and helped the White Sox beat Kansas City with a home run in the eighth inning, and when I saw what he had done -- when I went to the White Sox box score first this morning, as I do every morning, and when I looked for Dunn's line first, as I do every day -- I heard someone say the words, "Oh, good."

And it was me who said it.

Understand, Adam Dunn and I do not like each other. It's not a big deal, and I wouldn't pretend it is. Dunn's a proud, stubborn guy who probably dislikes a lot of people. And there's me. Mr. Congeniality. Him not liking me, me not liking him, it's not a big deal.

It started in 2007 when I (briefly) co-hosted a radio show in Cincinnati, and it was summer, and Dunn was striking out 165 times and making errors in the field, and radio callers wanted to gripe about it. And I wasn't about to defend Dunn. In fact, I may have piled on. There was a comment I made about Dunn in left field, how he chased the ball like my dog chases a Frisbee.

And then I may have barked.

Anyway, I showed up at the clubhouse every few weeks, and Dunn sneered at me every time. He asked other writers what I was doing there. He once approached me with a weighted sock, showed me the baseball hanging in the foot area, and jokingly -- I think -- threatened to hit me with it.

So anyway, he didn't like me. And it was mutual.

And when he signed with the Nationals in 2009, I haunted him. His box score was the first I looked for. His line was the first line I found. I had to know how he was playing, and when he went 0-for-4 with two whiffs, I smiled. When he homered, I groaned.

I'm petty like that.

So it continued in 2010 and this year with his new team, the White Sox.

I was smiling a lot.

And then I stopped smiling. His batting average dipped below .200 on May 20 and just kept going. He was in the .180s a week later. He hit the .170s on June 5. On Sunday he was at .165.

Again, I was no longer smiling. This wasn't a bad game or two. This wasn't even a bad homestand. This was a bad season, the kind of season that can end a career. My God, Adam Dunn has two hits in 56 at-bats against lefties this season. That's a .036 batting average.

That's not funny, and this hasn't been fun for a long time. I can't say I'm an Adam Dunn fan, but last night he had two hits, including a home run, and I'm smiling about it.

Tomorrow morning I'll check the White Sox box score first, like I always do. If Dunn plays tonight, I'll find his name first and see how he did. Like I always do. If he has another couple of hits, I'll smile. If he homers again, I might even applaud.

Like I never do.

Keep it going, Adam Dunn. You big donkey.

Category: MLB
Tags: Adam Dunn
Posted on: July 1, 2011 1:19 pm
Edited on: July 1, 2011 1:20 pm

Shameless Central Florida is a monster

A young man died on its watch, and now Central Florida will appeal a jury's finding that the school was negligent and should pay the dead football player's parents $10 million.

Which tells me UCF has no shame.

Bickering with the parents of a dead kid over why he really died -- when the testimony was chilling, including teammates' assertions that Ereck Plancher was "woozy and staggering" during drills and that he was "cursed at and singled out by [coach George] O'Leary for lack of effort" and that O'Leary withheld water during the workout -- is monstrous.

The jury has decided. The punishment against UCF is harsh, but you know what?

UCF got off easy.

Imagine being the parents of Ereck Plancher.

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: June 11, 2011 3:49 pm

Godfrey Myles, RIP

Godfrey Myles, dead? Already? At age 42?

Impossible. The Godfrey Myles I knew in college -- not well, but I knew him; he played for the Gators, and I wrote about them -- wasn't going to die before he turned 50. Or 80. Or maybe ever. The Godfrey Myles I knew in college was the first perfect physical specimen I'd ever seen, and perfection doesn't have a shelf life.

Myles never became a great NFL player, and he wasn't even all that dominant in college. Though he should have been. He was 6-foot-1 and 240 pounds, and he was usually one of the two or three fastest players on the field. Physically speaking, he was a freak. But nobody knew what to do with him, because he was so big and strong that he was usually played out of position.

The Gators tried him at linebacker, then safety. The Cowboys used him at linebacker. He was decent, but had he been taught how to play safety -- not trying to learn on the job, but learning in high school, in college -- he would have been a great pro. A great one. But a torn ACL in Super Bowl XXX effectively ended his career at age 27.

And a heart attack ended his life at age 42.

Rest in peace.

Category: NFL
Posted on: June 7, 2011 10:36 am

First, Mike Hamilton. Next, Gene Smith.

For Ohio State, the roadmap to redemption continues to unfold in Tennessee. And I assure you, the people at Ohio State are paying attention.

Because Tennessee and Ohio State are connected forever, connected by the cons of Bruce Pearl and Jim Tressel, joined at the same broken hip that must be replaced.

Tennessee is getting there. Ohio State is next. That's how this thing has been, every step of the way.

First Tennessee basketball coach Bruce Pearl breaks one of the biggest rules possible. He lies to the NCAA about a violation (his own, in this case). Then Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel commits a similar violation, covering up a violation (albeit not his own) within the OSU football program.

Despite the outcry, Tennessee thinks a long suspension is enough -- and keeps Pearl. Despite the outcry, Ohio State thinks a long suspension is enough -- and keeps Tressel.

Tennessee finally wises up, pushes Pearl out. Ohio State finally wises up, pushes Tressel out.

Despite the outcry, Tennessee keeps athletics director Mike Hamilton. Despite the outcry, Ohio State keeps athletics director Gene Smith.

On Tuesday, Tennessee finally wised up and pushed Hamilton out.

Your move, Ohio State, but we already know how this story ends. Eventually you'll figure it out too. You always do.

With Tennessee's help.

Category: NCAAF
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