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Cade Foster Received Pretty Much The Coolest Note Of Encouragement Ever

Friday, December 13th, 2013 - by Chris Queen

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Cade Foster had a rough night on November 30. The place kicker for the Alabama Crimson Tide missed two field goals in their game against in-state rival Auburn, while the Tigers blocked another of Foster’s kicks.  Auburn cornerback Chris Davis actually returned the last missed field goal 109 yards for a fluke, game-winning touchdown.

Some Alabama fans displayed a complete lack of class, sending hateful tweets and even death threats to the senior kicker. However, just a few days after the game, Foster received a letter of encouragement from someone unexpected:

Now he has the support of a former president.

Foster showed off this note from George W. Bush on his Instagram account Wednesday.

The note says: “Dear Cade (#43), Life has its setbacks. I know! However you will be a stronger human with time. I wish you all the best- Sincerely- another 43 George Bush.”

Foster said he will definitely frame this keepsake.

If a surprise letter from a former president (and true class act) doesn’t lift Foster’s spirits, nothing will.

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A Rare Class Act In Pro Sports Pens A Love Letter To The City He Left Behind

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013 - by Chris Queen

Tim Hudson

These days, most professional athletes don’t do themselves many favors in the eye of the public. Take Alex Rodriguez, Richie Incognito, or Aaron Hernandez, for example. Most pro athletes tend to come across as spoiled brats who care more about their next paycheck than with connecting with their fans. Class acts in professional sports don’t come around often enough, but when they do,  fans take notice. One true example of class is Tim Hudson.

Hudson, 38, joined the Braves before the 2005 season. A free agent this year, he signed a two-year, $23 million contract with the San Francisco Giants after the Braves declined to match the Giants’ offer. Over the weekend, Hudson shared an open letter to Braves fans with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. His love for Atlanta shines through in this display of gratitude and emotion:

When I was traded from the Oakland A’s to the Atlanta Braves before the 2005 season, a childhood dream was realized. I grew up a Braves fan just a few hours south of Atlanta, and it was hard for me to believe that I was going to actually play for the Atlanta Braves and legendary manager Bobby Cox. My family was young. We had a toddler (Kennedie), a baby (Tess) and a baby on the way (Kade). We were welcomed into the Braves organization with open arms. Our son was born two weeks into my first season, and our journey began. The Atlanta Braves are really all that our children know about this crazy baseball life, and we are so thankful for this upbringing for them.

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The Fastest Way to Annoy a Canadian

Thursday, November 21st, 2013 - by Leslie Loftis

Love CanadaA friend of ours, a Canadian serial expat, speaks at legal conferences. In the grand tradition of opening with a joke, he sometimes starts by telling a story about U.S. vs. Canada Olympic hockey. The last time the Canadians beat the U.S., he asked some Americans about it. The American answered, “It sucks to lose. But at least we lost to Canada. I’m happy to see Canada win.” “No, no, no!” our friend protested. “You are supposed to be spitting mad that you got beat by your mortal rival! We want a rivalry!”

In sports, this unrequited rivalry is funny. He gets laughs when he tells it. But like many funny things, the humor comes from just touching the truth. The actual truth has a bit of sting to it.

Last week I was in Toronto. I arrived just after the Toronto City Council stripped Mayor Rob Ford of his authority. In the non-stop news coverage, the local news was a little giddy that U.S. big media was covering the story. They even excerpted part of CNN’s coverage.

The reporter’s excitement at the big U.S. coverage reminded me of my friend’s hockey story, and that bothered me. This wasn’t about rivalry, but about us noticing them. Doesn’t the northern U.S. cover Canada? Down in Texas, I’m not shocked that we don’t cover Canada. We cover Mexico. (I don’t buy the internationally ignorant American conventional wisdom. We are quite big. I can hop in a car and drive west for 15+ hours and still be in Texas. The American Resident covered this point well a while back.) Regardless, it isn’t remotely cool, for CNN or Canada, that this story was getting play outside of Toronto.

I sighed, made a mental note to discuss this with my Canadian friends later, and picked up Kay Hymowitz’s Manning Up which I was using for debate prep. (I was there to attend a debate on “The End of Men.” ) I forgot about Mayor Ford and the exceptional case of Canadian coverage for a few hours.

But at the debate, America’s treatment of Canada came up again, courtesy of Maureen Dowd.

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Climate of Hate: Redskins Bus Egged on the Way to Game in Philly

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013 - by Bryan Preston

When will Slate and other leftwing publications answer for the climate of anti-Redskins hate they have created?

PHILADELPHIA (CBSDC) — The Washington Redskins team bus was apparently egged on the way to Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia Sunday morning.

Defensive lineman Chris Baker posted a photo of the egg smeared side of the vehicle on Instagram.

Hate: It’s what’s for breakfast.

redskins-bus-egged

*****

Cross-posted from PJ Tatler

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Dolphins’ Coaches Reportedly Told Richie Incongito to Toughen Up Jonathan Martin

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013 - by Chris Queen

Incognito & Martin

I just wrote about the brewing scandal involving the Miami Dolphins and the alleged bullying of offensive tackle Jonathan Martin. Apparently, the situation contains further wrinkles that we’re just learning today. The Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel has reported that Dolphins coaches told teammate Richie Incognito to toughen Martin up, though Incognito may have taken the instruction too far:

Sources say that communication took place when Martin skipped two days of the team’s OTA program, and Incognito was encouraged by his coaches to make a call that would “get him into the fold,” one source said.

Even though OTA workouts are voluntary, the NFL culture forces coaches to strong arm the team’s leaders to make sure everyone attends. Sources say Incognito was doing his job, but they admit he crossed the line.

Incognito spoke out to the press for the first time this week, telling a local reporter, ”You know what, I’m just trying to weather the storm right now… this will pass.”

Other Dolphins players, though supportive of Martin, say he should have spoken out sooner.

Linebacker Dannell Ellerbe indicated that Martin should have come to the leadership council with his problems, which apparently carried over to his second season. The problem is Incognito was also on the leadership council, and possessed a tremendous amount of power and influence.

That might explain why Martin hid his issues with Incognito, and on occasion hung around with him in South Florida, and during road trips. It is possible Martin felt he had to do so to feel accepted.

Martin remains on the team’s 53-man roster, and his teammates have indicated that they would welcome him back when he is ready to return.

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The Miami Dolphins: A Soap Opera for Football Fans

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013 - by Chris Queen
Jonathan Martin took a leave of absence from the Miami Dolphins on October 28.

Jonathan Martin took a leave of absence from the Miami Dolphins on October 28.

Football fans love drama. The back and forth of close games, the thrill of a come-from-behind victory, the outsized personalities — all of these make for plenty of excitement in the NFL. However, one team is making headlines for its off-the-field drama far more than for its on-the-field antics these days. The Miami Dolphins have suddenly found themselves embroiled in a controversy involving player hazing, bullying, and harassment, with the added twist of apparent racism.

The soap opera began last week when second -ear offensive tackle Jonathan Martin took a leave of absence from the team, claiming other players bullied him.

Martin left Dolphins headquarters on Monday when finally reaching his limit with the persistent bullying and teasing from some teammates that has plagued him since joining Miami as a 2012 second-round draft choice. As first reported by FOX Sports NFL insider Jay Glazer, the latest taunt – a group of players stood up and left when he tried joining them for lunch – led to Martin getting up himself and walking out the door.

There is no timetable for a return, which could lead Miami to ultimately place him on the reserve/non-football injury list. It also raises questions about his future with the franchise.

This wasn’t an abrupt action by Martin, who is Stanford-educated and the son of two lawyers who attended Harvard University. A source said Martin has tried dealing with a slew of indignities that crossed into personal and family insults, including being bestowed with the nickname of “Big Weirdo.”

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Dare You Not to Cry: Autistic Football Player ‘Big Mike’ Runs for a 31-Yard Touchdown

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013 - by Paula Bolyard
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The Rittman Indians have been in the news for all the wrong reasons lately. A poem read in class by disgruntled Indians football player Nick Andre – an ill-conceived English assignment —  lambasted the head coach, his teammates, and the team’s losing record and sloppy play. When the 16-year-old Ohio player was suspended and kicked off the team for what the school principal called “hazing and harassment,” the story went viral, even making the national news. After serving part of his 4-day suspension, Andre was allowed back on the team, but not before the head coach resigned in the wake of the controversy. Suffice it to say that it’s been a bad year for the Indians with little hope of redeeming the season.

But with the help of coaches from the Waynedale Golden Bears and the officials, the Indians season ended on an remarkably positive note on Friday. The Daily Record’s Aaron Dorksen reported:

Coaches on the Rittman and Waynedale sidelines were both thinking the same thing in the final minutes of what would turn out to be a 49-6 Golden Bears’ win Friday: “Let’s let ‘Big Mike’ score a touchdown.”

The players and even game officials all got in on it, too.

So with less than a minute left in the season finale for both teams, the spotlight and the football were given to Rittman senior Michael Halliwell, a 6-foot-5, 300-pounder with autism who was seeing his first varsity action of the year on that drive.

For the first few plays, Halliwell had lined up at left tackle and the PA announcer congratulated him for a good block.

Indians coach Lane Knore used his final timeout to set up a handoff from quarterback Matt Evans to Halliwell, who ran it 31 yards with 22 seconds left for the most heart-warming touchdown anyone in Indians Stadium is likely to ever see. A Rittman assistant had run over to Waynedale’s sideline just prior to the play to ask Bears coach Matt Zuercher and his staff if it would be OK, to which Zuercher responded, “We were already thinking the same thing.”

Waynedale’s coaches, including defensive coordinator, Todd Barkan, who is a special education teacher, had taken the players to a local children’s home earlier in the week to perform community service. “We talked about giving back and helping others, but who knew we’d be able to do something like that in our game Friday? It was a special night for our team to be a part of, too,” Coach Zuercher told the Daily Record.

Mike’s father, Allen Halliwell, told the Daily Record that to “Big Mike” the touchdown was real. “He ran as fast as he ever has, all 6-5, 300 pounds of him clutching the ball with two hands until teammates mobbed him in the end zone.” He said the Golden Bears congratulated him as well. ”Mike is proud to be a Rittman Indian,” Allen Halliwell said. “He knows he’s part of something bigger than himself.”

“I finally got to do something I’ve always dreamed of since I was a little boy — make a touchdown,” Mike said.

Read the whole story here.

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One of the Best Sports Moments of the Decade

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013 - by Bryan Preston

Most Saturday mornings you can find me checking headlines on my laptop while English Premiere League soccer is up live on my TV. Moments like this one from Saturday’s matches are why soccer fans watch the games. They’re what the sport is all about.

Arsenal are north London’s biggest soccer team (Spurs fans, you know it’s true). The Gunners currently lead the league, and Saturday they were at home facing Norwich, who are currently near the bottom of the league. Arsenal  are playing lights out lately and expected the win, but no one expected the Gunners to score their first in quite the way that they did.

It happened in the 18th minute. With the match still scoreless but Arsenal dominating possession and forcing their will on Norwich, Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere picked up the ball in the Gunners’ end and started to charge forward. He passed left to defender Kieran Gibbs, who passed forward to midfielder Santi Cazorla.

Cazorla, just returning from injury for his first match in several weeks, was showing a few signs of rust early in the game. But not at this moment. He held up the ball while Wilshere continued his run forward toward the Norwich goal. What follows is telepathic team play.

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Cazorla’s move starts at the :05 mark of the video. He has the ball, and that’s Wilshere in red facing the Norwich #27 in yellow. Cazorla passes to Wilshere, who passes back to Cazorla, who one-touch passes to Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud, standing side-facing the goal at the top of the Norwich penalty area. Giroud flicks back to Wilshere, who heel flicks back to Giroud as he continues to charge forward through the Norwich defense. Giroud turns around and one-touch flicks the ball forward into Wilshere’s path. All Wilshere has left to do at that point is slide the ball past the keeper into the net, 1-0. Those six pinpoint moves spanned about :03 on the clock. Play the video a few times and you’ll see 21-year-old Wilshere’s unbelievable heel flick as he charges at pace right through the defense. A lifetime of work on the training ground won’t leave most of us anywhere near capable of pulling that off.

The stunning goal silenced the stadium. Norwich’s defenders and goalkeeper could do nothing about it. Arsenal midfielder Mesut Özil, who scored two on the day and is regarded as one of the best playmakers in world soccer, said his teammates’ “Playstation” goal was “unbelievable.”

The Gunners weren’t finished. Arsenal went on to score three more, including this solo masterpiece by midfielder Aaron Ramsey that sealed the win.

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*****

Cross-posted from the PJ Tatler

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Ty Doohen, Another Victim of Single Motherhood: Fatherless and Beaten to Death

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013 - by Megan Fox
ty doohen

2-year-old baby Ty Doohen, who was beaten to death

Sports media is in an uproar about the horrific murder of Ty Doohen, Vikings’ running back Adrian Peterson’s two-year-old son. Unfortunately, they’ve got the angle all wrong. This is not a story about a father’s loss and brave return to the field. It is a story of a sick culture, of a man who reportedly didn’t even know he had fathered a son until three months ago and never looked on Ty’s face until the boy was in a hospital bed, dying.

It’s a story of the woman who birthed this child. Ann “Ashley” Doohen reportedly had the child tested for paternity and the results came as a surprise to her. She thought the child was her ex-boyfriend’s (not current boyfriend and alleged assailant Joseph Patterson). This makes three men Doohen was (allegedly) having sex within a relatively short time period. She was not married to any of them.

This is a story of a woman who left her baby in the care of a person who had a criminal record of child abuse that anyone with $30 and a computer could have uncovered. But most importantly, this is a story of a child with no father, with no hero and no advocate to protect and shield him from the evil around him.

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The War on Football

Saturday, October 5th, 2013 - by Helen Smith

obama-bike12

Sadly, I saw that a former Amazon CFO, Joy Covey, died in a bike crash on Wednesday:

She died Wednesday after colliding with a minivan while riding her bicycle downhill on Skyline Blvd. near Portola Valley, Calif., according to Art Montiel, a public information officer at the California Highway Patrol in Redwood City. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

After this tragedy, are people calling out to ban bikes? Apparently, 677 people were killed on bikes in 2011 and many more were injured. The article I linked mentions that the health benefits of biking offset some of the risks. Why is it okay to get hurt or injured on a bike but when it comes to a sport like football that is safer than bicycling, the PC community is up in arms and wants to ban it? That is one of the questions that Daniel Flynn tackles in his new book The War on Football: Saving America’s Game. From Amazon:

From concussion doctors pushing “science” that benefits their hidden business interests to lawyers clamoring for billion-dollar settlements in scam litigation, America’s game has become so big that everybody wants a cut. And those chasing the dollars show themselves more than willing to trash a great sport in hot pursuit of a buck.

Everything they say about football is wrong. Football players don’t commit suicide at elevated levels, die younger than their peers, or suffer disproportionately from heart disease. In fact, professional players live longer, healthier lives than American men in general.

More than that, football is America’s most popular sport. It brings us together. It is, and has been, a rite of passage for millions of American boys.

But fear over concussions and other injuries could put football on ice. School districts are already considering doing away with football as too dangerous. Parents who used to see football as character-building now worry that it may be mind-destroying. Even the president has jumped on the pile by fretting that he might prevent a son from playing if he had one.

But as author Daniel J. Flynn reports, football is actually safer than skateboarding, bicycling, or skiing. And in a nation facing an obesity crisis, a little extra running, jumping, and tackling could do us all good.

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Bombshells and Baby Daddies: How Single Moms Are Destroying Kids and Society, Part 1

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013 - by Megan Fox

brynn

Former USC basketball star Brynn Cameron has just had baby number two out of wedlock with yet another sports star. Her first baby daddy was NFL quarterback Matt Leinart and the newest addition to her growing family is the child of the NBA’s Blake Griffin. Cameron is neither married nor in a relationship with either sperm-donor. (Rumor has it the stars of the NHL are competing with the pros of the PGA to see who will be next in line for PDA with the leggy blonde.)

While Cameron may not be struggling as a single mother because of her reported $15k a month child support paycheck (from baby daddy #1), the money alone will not protect her children from her stupid choice to raise them without a partner. Worse, Cameron’s lifestyle may seem attractive to her young fans, who will suffer far more harm than she if they follow in her ill-advised footsteps. Time and time again, statistics prove children raised in single-parent homes suffer compared to their peers in stable, married households. And yet, fauxminists still insist that single mothers are superior because they’re fighting the patriarchy… or something equally unintelligent.

In an essay titled “The Increase in Single Mothers is Actually a Good Thing,” Hugo Schwyzer claims that the rise in single motherhood is a result of women having babies with men they find inferior and thus not marriage material. Schwyzer uses an example of a woman whose “boyfriend was so dependent that she had to buy his cigarettes. Marrying him never entered her mind.”

Perhaps having sex with him should never have entered her mind.

Why are today’s women so stupid that they allow men they wouldn’t trust to run errands deposit their DNA inside of them? Perhaps it’s related to the lie from the progressive feminists that birth control works and there is such a thing as consequence-free sex. Here’s a secret: It doesn’t and there isn’t.

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Any woman who decides to have a baby without a husband (not a baby daddy or a guy who visits on the weekend) needs to understand she is making the choice to put her baby and society at risk for the unforgivable disadvantages of poverty, teen pregnancy, sexual abuse, a life of crime, and incarceration and suicide. The first part of this series will deal with the crippling scourge of poverty.

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Why Liberals Hate Tim Tebow

Sunday, September 1st, 2013 - by Paula Bolyard

tim-tebow

In January 2012, Tim Tebow was the darling of the marketing world — he was marketing gold. Then quarterback of the Denver Broncos, Tebow had led the team to several come-from-behind wins and threw an 80-yard touchdown pass on the first play of an overtime game to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in a first-round playoff game. The game drew a stunning 49% more viewers than the year-earlier match-up.

Ad Age reported at the time, “The game on CBS averaged a 25.9 household rating/43 share, according to Nielsen, the highest-rated first-round NFL playoff game in 24 years.”

They said that Tebow ranked among the top 85 celebrities in the world in the Trendsetter attribute, “on par with George Clooney, Rihanna, and Justin Timberlake.” According to Ad Age, “In terms of influence, Mr. Tebow is now in the top 40 of 3,000 celebs in the DBI, on par Tom Hanks, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Jennifer Aniston and Steven Spielberg.”

Darin David, account director at The Marketing Arm, Dallas, said that Tebow was then likely at the $10 million a year level in marketing potential. “As a marketer, you want somebody like that.”

Now you’d think that any team with half a brain, or even a modicum of greed, would have seen the potential — a decade of Tebwomania with the accompanying marketing bonanza. Jerseys, posters, shoes, ticket sales, TV viewers — dollar signs. They would have immediately put a team of the best coaches, trainers, and former quarterbacks on Team Tebow to do whatever it takes to transform his Heisman Trophy college skills into NFL-worthy abilities. But the media had to have its say.

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College Football: We Just Do It Better Down South!

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013 - by Chris Queen

SEC Sign

August is finally winding down. The kids are back to school, and the whole world seems to settle back into a routine. Starting this week — and especially on Saturday — the world changes for the better, as teams on campuses across the country take the fields to play football.

Yes, it’s college football season, and college football, like food, music, and beautiful women, is one of the things we just do better down South. The Southeastern Conference (SEC) has dominated the sport for years now, and for that reason, the entire country is in a love-hate relationship with the conference.

Over at one of my favorite sports blogs, Saturdays Down South, Kevin Duffey speculates how the SEC, with all their successes, may well be the villain of college football:

Just over three years ago, Lebron James became the biggest villain in major American sports as a result of his televised Decision. For the next three seasons, fans – whether they hated or loved Lebron – couldn’t stop watching him as he pursued NBA Championships.

Several years before that, baseball fans were joined together in a hatred toward the New York Yankees as a result of multiple World Series titles and an ever expanding payroll.

Whether the villains are a result of a Decision, a payroll several times that of a team’s competitors or 7 straight BCS Championships, villains are fantastic for sports. Villains drive emotion and drive fan interest on both sides of the equation.

[...]

The SEC is an interesting scenario for a villain since it’s such a large entity. It’s not a single individual like Lebron James or Tiger Woods. It’s not a single team like the Yankees. No, it’s 14 teams and an entire region of the country.

I know what you’re thinking – “These SEC fans sound like they’re bragging.” But the facts speak for themselves. Teams from the SEC have won the last seven championships in a row – and nine of the last 15. Five of the ten largest college football stadiums reside within the SEC, and the SEC boasts nine of the 20 largest attendances in college football. Then again, those are mere statistics.

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Will ‘Charlie Hustle’ Come Out Smelling Like A Rose?

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013 - by Chris Queen

Pete Rose

For 24 years, Pete Rose has waited. Since Major League Baseball handed down his lifetime ban on August 25, 1989 for betting on games, Rose has waited for his moment of redemption. Oddly enough, that moment may come soon, and if so, Rose has players like Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun to thank.

In an excellent article in USA Today, Bob Nightengale has suggested that, in the controversy surrounding Biogenesis and MLB’s suspension of over a dozen players for using performance enhancing substances, Rose emerges looking like a “sympathetic figure.”

It seems everywhere you turn baseball fans want players involved in the Biogenesis scandal to be punished, disgraced and even permanently suspended themselves. And then they ask how Rose is still on the outside when Ryan Braun, Alex Rodriguez and others will only be temporarily suspended.

Joe Morgan, the Hall of Fame second baseman who’s also vice chairman of the Hall of Fame, doesn’t want anyone associated with doping to ever set foot in the museum. Yet, Morgan says Rose deserves to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

“I think if you’re going to allow guys with PEDs on the ballot,” Morgan told USA TODAY Sports, “then we have to allow him to be on the ballot. Let’s face it, he’s been punished for 24 years. I think they have to take a second look at Pete now that this has come out.”

Hank Aaron, the home-run king before Barry Bonds, says he believes steroid users should have an asterisk if they are ever inducted but hopes Rose is one day in the Hall of Fame alongside him.

Rose is even drawing compassion from MLB officials as a result of his comments last week, scolding Rodriguez and Braun and telling them to admit their guilt.

“We have to get these people to understand that if you make mistakes, people will forgive you if you come forward,” Rose told USA TODAY Sports. “Don’t do like I did. Don’t do like Braun did. Don’t do like A-Rod did. I wish I had come forward a long time ago.”

It’s not hard to notice the glaring double standard. Rose bet on games and is the pariah of baseball, but A-Rod and the others used illegal substances to boost their performances and only face suspensions. Former MLB commissioner Fay Vincent blames Rose’s arrogance and lack of contrition for the difference in his treatment, but those suspensions are mere wrist slaps compared to Rose’s life the last 24 years. One can’t blame Rose for his cynicism.

“I made mistakes, I can’t whine about it,” Rose told a Pittsburgh radio station over the weekend. “I’m the one that messed up and I’m paying the consequences. However, if I am given a second chance, I won’t need a third chance.

“And to be honest with you, I picked the wrong vice. I should have picked alcohol. I should have picked drugs or I should have picked up beating up my wife or girlfriend because if you do those three, you get a second chance.”

Commissioner Bud Selig and the owners of each team are currently meeting this week in Cooperstown, and I wonder if Pete Rose will be a topic of conversation. He belongs in the Hall of Fame, and he deserves better treatment than he has received the last quarter century. I believe Rose’s moment of redemption will come one day. I only hope he’ll live to see it.

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Who’s The Bigger Idiot in Sports This Week: Tony Stewart or Johnny Manziel?

Saturday, August 10th, 2013 - by Chris Queen

Tony Stewart Johnny Manziel

The last few months haven’t been a good time to be an athlete in the public eye. Think about the worst offender by far – Aaron Hernandez, the New England Patriots tight end who is in jail on murder charges. Or consider his college teammate — for the Florida Gators, the mortal enemies of my alma mater, UGA, I might add — Riley Cooper, who uttered racial slurs and went “f—ing nuts” after being denied backstage access at a Kenny Chesney concert and just happened to be caught on tape.

Let’s not forget Alex Rodriguez. It seems the sports media whole world has fixated on the suspension that has stemmed from his alleged use of banned substances – one writer even compared him to the “party guest that won’t leave.” Last but not least, look at poor professional bowler Troy Walker, whose bid for a perfect score ended when he accidentally pressed the reset button before his last frame.

But my friend Britt Johnson posed an interesting question on Facebook today, so I thought I’d bring it to your attention: who’s the bigger idiot in sports this week: Tony Stewart or Johnny Manziel?

On Monday night, Stewart, a three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion broke his leg in two places racing for fun at an Iowa dirt track – his second dirt track crash in as many weeks. He will undergo surgery to repair his leg.

The injury likely will end any hopes of Stewart making this year’s Chase for the Sprint Cup championship. With five races remaining before the Chase begins, he is 11th in the point standings, just five points behind 10th-place Greg Biffle. Stewart currently holds one of the two wild card positions due to his one win this season, which came on June 2 at Dover.

Heisman Trophy winner Manziel, who has already generated controversy since his amazing freshman season last year for having meltdowns on Twitter and not taking a summer QB camp seriously enough, is now under investigation for allegedly taking $7,500 to autograph helmets.

An East Coast autograph broker told ESPN on Tuesday that Johnny Manziel was paid $7,500 for signing approximately 300 mini- and full-sized helmets on Jan. 11-12 while he was attending the Walter Camp Football Foundation event.

The broker played two cell phone videos for ESPN showing Manziel signing white Texas A&M helmets and footballs laid out on a bed in a hotel room. The video does not show Manziel accepting any money.

[...]

On the videos, which the broker said were recorded without Manziel’s knowledge, ESPN heard Manziel say “you never did a signing with me” and that if the broker were to tell anyone, he would refuse to deal with him again in the future.

So in your mind, who’s the bigger idiot: Stewart or Manziel? Which athlete has potentially done the most damage to his career? Tell us in the comments section below.

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Indians Fans Mock Tigers Fans and Players with ‘Detroit’s Bankrupt’

Thursday, August 8th, 2013 - by Paula Bolyard

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Cleveland Indians

During Wednesday’s game at Cleveland’s Progressive Field, the AL Central-leading Detroit Tigers faced the second-place Cleveland Indians. Detroit had taken the first two games of the series with Justin Verlander besting Indians ace Justin Masterson in the 5-1 game. So game three of the series was a predictable grudge match as Detroit fans helped fill out the crowd at Progressive Field (Detroit is a quick 2 1/2 hour drive from Cleveland). By the top of the 9th inning, the game was tied at four and the crowd was raucous. I even texted a friend who was at the game to ask about the drunk guy who could be heard over Fox Sports commentators Rick Manning and Matt Underwood and over the teams chanting “Let’s go Indians!” and “Let’s go Tigers!”

And then the Indians fans began to drown out the Tigers fans with something completely different.

My friend, Pastor Jim McComas, posted this on Facebook:

“Cleveland Indians fans are chanting “Detroit’s Bankrupt.” If you can’t beat ‘em on the field, mock their city’s fiscal responsibility! ‪#‎GottaLoveIt‬

Sure enough, ever-optimistic Cleveland fans found a way to see the glass as half full in a city that has not been to the World Series since 1997 and has not won the Series since 1948. And has never won an NBA championship. And has never won the Super Bowl (at least Cleveland shares that “elite” status with Detroit).

DE-troit’s BANK-rupt! clap-clap, clap-clap-clap!

Twitter lit up over the chant. A guy named Camillo claims he started it with his “buddy George”:

 

 

Some Detroit fans hit back:

 

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Victory For Georgia Football Player Kolton Houston

Saturday, July 27th, 2013 - by Chris Queen
Kolton Houston (75) takes the field at G-Day, UGA's annual spring game.

Kolton Houston (75) takes the field at G-Day, UGA’s annual spring game, in 2012.

Earlier this week, I wrote about the plight of University of Georgia football player Kolton Houston, whom the NCAA declared ineligible for play for three years because of a steroid that a doctor injected into his body when he was in high school.

On Thursday, Houston received the news he has been awaiting since 2010: he can play between the hedges for the Bulldogs this fall.

Kolton Houston’s three-year struggle to regain NCAA eligibility is finally over.

The Georgia offensive lineman passed his most recent NCAA drug screening, allowing him to join the Bulldogs’ active roster for the first time in his college career.

He learned of his reinstatement in a call from UGA director of sports medicine Ron Courson on Thursday.

“I took the test last Thursday,” Houston told ESPN’s DawgNation. “I was moving out of my house when Ron called me with the news. I was stunned. I didn’t know what to think. All the past years’ emotions hit me at once.”

The icing on the cake (literally)? Thursday was Houston’s birthday.

“This is the best birthday present I’ve ever had,” Houston said about his reinstatement. “I had almost reached the point where I thought this situation would never end. When I got the call, I broke down and cried for about 30 minutes. I had that much emotion stored up and it felt good to get it out. I’m ready now to show what I can do.”

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Kolton Houston’s Dream Deferred

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013 - by Chris Queen

Kolton Houston

It’s hard to believe in the heat of summer, but in just a few weeks, college football players all across the country – especially in the South, where college football is an all-consuming phenomenon – will take to the field for a new season. For one student athlete at the University of Georgia, the dream of playing “between the hedges” at Sanford Stadium remains just out of his grasp.

Kolton Houston has wanted to play football at the University of Georgia since he was a little boy. His father, Shane Houston played for the Bulldogs but saw his career cut short by an injury. Kolton wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps, and in a just world, he would be a starting offensive lineman. However, he cannot play due to NCAA regulations and at one point even faced a lifetime ban from the sport.

Shortly after his arrival in Athens in April 2010, Houston tested positive for an anabolic steroid called norandrolone. The NCAA considers a result greater than 2.5 nanograms per milliliter to be proof of use; Houston had 260 nanograms per milliliter. The math was simple, and he was suspended for a year. Violation, sentence, case closed. Ron Courson, Georgia’s senior associate athletic director, gave Houston the news. “We were very surprised, very shocked,” Courson recently told ESPN’s Outside the Lines.

What wasn’t surprising was Houston’s response. He did what so many caught athletes do, blaming some mysterious tainted supplement, some shake or powder with too much boost. The difference was that Courson, the school’s director of sports medicine since 1995, believed him. He began testing Houston, test after test — “He’s been tested probably more times than anybody in the history of college football,” Georgia coach Mark Richt says — and over time Houston carried less norandrolone but still too much. His body wasn’t a destination for the drug; it was somehow a source.

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Baseball: The Last Refuge from What Divides Us

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013 - by Paula Bolyard
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Baseball may just be one of the last remaining apolitical spaces left in American life. Americans are divided by political party, race, religion, and culture more than any time I can remember in my lifetime, but baseball has blessedly remained a refuge, a place where everyone leaves those differences at the turnstile and simply enjoys America’s favorite pastime.

Tuesday’s All Star Game was no exception. Americans from all walks of life gathered for the annual event and immersed themselves in baseball’s time-honored traditions for a few hours.

I am a lifelong baseball fan. I grew up listening to the legendary Joe Tait calling the Indians games, beginning each game with “it’s a beautiful day for baseball!” — even during the most frigid spring games in Cleveland. My parents used to load the family into the Chevy Impala (and later the Chevette when gas prices soared) for the trip to the old Cleveland Stadium back in the days when you could buy tickets for a few bucks. Though I was still in elementary school, I still vividly recall the streakers and the near-riot during the infamous Ten Cent Beer Night game in 1974 (my dad grabbed the binoculars away from me during the streakers). I learned to keep score during long, sweaty Saturday afternoons at the stadium—a skill I would put to good use during the many years our sons played baseball (and “official scorekeeper for the Indians” remains my unrequited dream job).

Compared to other sports, with their time clocks and hurried pace, baseball is almost indulgent. There is time for long conversations, hot dog breaks, and leisurely strolls around the stadium. The traditions and rituals abound, beginning with the national anthem and proceeding through the obligatory ceremonial first pitch and 7th inning stretch. An unwritten rule of baseball etiquette dictates that political discussion only occur in hushed tones so as not to disrupt the jovial atmosphere.  When we’re at a game together, I don’t care if you’re a Republican, a Democrat, or a Socialist. As long as we’re wearing the same team colors, we are compatriots on this day.

The 2013 All Star Game kicked off with American Idol winner Candice Glover (donning a National League jersey) belting out the national anthem as a giant flag, held by members of the military, covered nearly the entire outfield. I always smile as I watch the players lined up during the song, shifting and wiggling, trying to contain some combination of energy and adrenaline rush. These grown men are just larger versions of the wiggly boys we see on the tee ball field. During Glover’s perfect performance, soldiers and veterans saluted and the crowd stood in respectful solidarity, erupting into a cheer when the soldiers made the flag wave during, “Oh say! Does that star-spangled banner yet wave?” No Republicans. No Democrats. Go America! Play ball!

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Ohio Gives Homeschoolers Equal Access to Sports and Other Activities

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013 - by Paula Bolyard

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When Ohio Governor John Kasich signed the state’s $62 billiontwo-year budget into law on Sunday night, some homeschoolers were stunned to find out that tucked inside was language (3313.5312) expanding the rights of homeschooled and private school students. They will now be permitted to participate in extracurricular activities in the public schools in their home districts, including high school athletics. Without debate or fanfare, legislators added an amendment in the finance committee before the final vote giving homeschoolers (and private school students whose schools do not offer a particular activity) the right to join their local public schools for extracurricular activities:

“A student who is receiving home instruction…shall be afforded, by the superintendent of the school district in which the student is entitled to attend school…the opportunity to participate in any extracurricular activity offered at the district school to which the student otherwise would be assigned during that school year.”

Rep. Dave Hall (R-Millersburg) inserted the amendment without objection. He told me on Tuesday morning that it was an open process in the finance committee rather than something slipped in at the last minute:

“I did it on the finance committee in front of many stakeholders. There was no behind the doors deal. It was basically up front. It was amended in and accepted by the committee…so we did use the process correctly.”

Hall said that his office had been working with local stakeholders in the homeschooling community in his district to draft a bill to give homeschoolers the right to participate in extracurricular activities, but saw an opportunity with the budget process. “We were reforming education on the funding side and so it was the perfect opportunity to put the amendment right into the budget.”

Hall’s Chief of Staff, Mike McGuire, who had been homeschooled and denied the opportunity to participate in high school athletics, helped move the issue: “He was a frustrated young man trying to get on the tennis team. He educated myself and many others on the issue.”

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5 Books Dads Will Love for Father’s Day

Friday, June 14th, 2013 - by Paula Bolyard

There is still time to head over to Amazon to place an order in time for Father’s Day delivery! I’ve linked the images below to help you out.

La Place de la Concorde Suisse

by John McPhee

Swiss

“The Swiss Army has served as a model for less languid nations. The Israeli Army is a copy of the Swiss Army. … They are a civilian army, a trained and practiced militia, ever ready to mobilize. They serve for thirty years. All six hundred and fifty thousand are prepared to be present at mobilization points and battle stations in considerably less than forty-eight hours.”

This book, written at the end of the Cold War, gives a compelling view of the Swiss military system. The pastoral views in the Alps don’t reveal that beneath those mountains are bunkers stocked with munitions caches and that the winding roads all have bridges that can be blown to pieces at a moment’s notice to thwart an attack.

The book might provoke some intriguing thoughts and conversations about forced conscription, responsibility as citizens, what some like to call “military adventurism,” and the implications of heavily armed neutrality.

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The 5 Most Annoying Things Bikers Do

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013 - by Hannah Sternberg

This week is Bike to Work Week in Washington, D.C., which is a perfect opportunity to point out why the vast majority of bikers are huge jerks who ruin the road for the rest of us. I’m not saying they’re jerks all the time; just when they’re on their bikes. Kind of like how someone turns into a Mr Hyde version of himself when he climbs into a Prius.

I’m not even saying all bikers are this awful. Just most of them. Enough of them to give bikers a bad rep, even when some of us actually try to be considerate, safe, and respectful. So this Bike to Work Week, please do bike to work — just don’t be a jerk about it.

5. Biking on the road, without following the rules of the road

You know what I’m talking about — the bikers who use the bike lane or actually drive in the traffic lanes, but breeze through stop signs without pause, creep past red lights, cross lanes when they turn, and generally act like the rest of traffic should bend around them. This is incredibly unsafe — for bikers, drivers, and pedestrians. As someone who walks to work every day here in D.C., I could count on two hands (and a few toes) the number of times I’ve nearly been run down by a bike that had no intention of stopping for a red. Hills are no excuse. If your brakes are too poor to come to a full stop when you’re pointing downhill — or your legs are too weak to stop then start again while climbing uphill — then you shouldn’t be biking on the road. Get in shape, get a tune-up, and come back when you’re ready to bike safely.

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Jason Collins Isn’t Brave for Being Gay

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013 - by Hannah Sternberg

The bravest part of Jason Collins’s coming-out feature in Sports Illustrated was not the part where he revealed he is gay. It was this:

I celebrate being an African-American and the hardships of the past that still resonate today. But I don’t let my race define me any more than I want my sexual orientation to. I don’t want to be labeled, and I can’t let someone else’s label define me.

I have a prediction: Collins is going to ruffle a few feathers in the gay world for that comment.

It normalizes gayness, instead of letting one counterculture, ultra-liberal, activist niche own the image of homosexuality. If you can be a gay NBA star, why not a gay conservative? If your sexual orientation is just one part of your life, why does it have to dictate your entire worldview?

You can’t be easily herded if you insist on being yourself.

If you’re skeptical that the gay activist Old Guard would be against lifestyle diversity, read this Slate article about how some of them are reluctantly accepting of the “Gaybro” movement. The subtitle says it all: “They like sports, hunting, and beer. They make the gay community mad.”

Jason Collins: thanks for making them mad. It’s time someone shook this place up a bit. And I don’t mean the hetero-normative sports world. I mean the liberal-normative gay world.

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Bill Clinton Supports First Openly Gay NBA Player: ‘Proud to Call Jason Collins a Friend’

Monday, April 29th, 2013 - by Bridget Johnson

Former President Bill Clinton, who just joined Twitter this month, applauded the decision of NBA player Jason Collins to come out as gay.

Collins, a center for the Washington Wizards, wrote a lengthy piece for the May 6 issue of Sports Illustrated explaining his decision.

“I didn’t set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. But since I am, I’m happy to start the conversation. I wish I wasn’t the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, ‘I’m different.’ If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I’m raising my hand,” Collins wrote.

Many well-known names quickly rallied to his defense on Twitter, including Clinton.

“I’m proud to call Jason Collins a friend,” Clinton tweeted, linking to a longer statement at his foundation’s website.

“I have known Jason Collins since he was Chelsea’s classmate and friend at Stanford. Jason’s announcement today is an important moment for professional sports and in the history of the LGBT community,” Clinton said. “It is also the straightforward statement of a good man who wants no more than what so many of us seek: to be able to be who we are; to do our work; to build families and to contribute to our communities. For so many members of the LGBT community, these simple goals remain elusive. I hope that everyone, particularly Jason’s colleagues in the NBA, the media and his many fans extend to him their support and the respect he has earned.”

*****

Cross-posted from the PJ Tatler.

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