The sickest part of it all is that it never had to become this. It’s all self-inflicted by those we once relied upon.
Firm, fair leadership, an active choice of right over wrong, a commitment to good business instead of greed and a good faith, non-political, sports-only desire to earn and maintain the public trust would have won the day, every day.
Instead, here we are, stuck in reverse.
— MSG Network’s Rangers TV voices, Sam Rosen and Joe Micheletti, are lovely gents, but have nonetheless been inveterate homers since they were paired in 2006. From Rangers teams that have difficulty qualifying for the playoffs they’ve consistently seen exceptional and outstanding performances, “good play” and “good effort” in every loss — as if Jimmy Dolan will otherwise enter them in his Mr. Peabody Facial Recognition WABAC Machine.
Thus, local hockey fans must pay the fee for the privilege of bad faith. Yet there’s no good reason why the paying public, which knows better, is treated like morons. Never is, never was.
Sunday at the Garden, Rosen and Micheletti hit a pandering low. They couldn’t quite clearly speak, let alone condemn, a sensationally repugnant sight that no one else could miss or quietly suffer:
Rangers defenseman K’Andre Miller, during a rather ordinary stoppage for an ordinary shoving scene, spit on the Kings’ Drew Doughty. For crying out loud, a big, ugly gob of flying phlegm spit across and at, not down and away.
The on-ice officials condemned it. Miller was ejected. The NHL condemned it. Miller was suspended for three games and fined $15,000.
But the two guys working the telecast for the largest TV market in North America hit their mute buttons. If they were shocked by the shocking they kept it to themselves.
A postscript to this comes from reader John Yakacki who reminds us that it in a Steve Serby Q & A, last year, Miller said his favorite current wide receiver is Odell Beckham, Jr. for “the way he carries himself, and his style.”
— Once again during the Roger Goodell Era the Federal Communications Commission has been hit with “official complaints” — this time more than 100 pages worth — about the raunchy content of the Super Bowl halftime show.
Imagine, the commissioner of a big league sport being the annual target of legitimate claims of aiding and abetting pornography to a national television audience. And once again, pandering, cowardly Goodell shrugs and hopes — successfully, as the media are as cowardly and pandering as he is — that it will blow away, at least until the NFL’s next X-rated family show watched by 110,000 million Americans.
But, again, you can’t shame the shameless.
This week, rapper Travis Scott, invited by Goodell to grab his crotch and mouth vulgarities during the 2019 Super Bowl halftime show, was sought by the NYPD for an alleged 3:45 a.m. assault, plus damages, at a night club. Scott, whose lawyer described the incident as “a misunderstanding,” has a habit for being arrested.
Perhaps, then, Scott should summon Goodell as a character witness. Yep, Scott is Goodell’s ideal of what NFL football fans deserve. And Goodell’s the annual beneficiary of a frightened-by-fools media that “doesn’t want to get involved.”
— The most important lesson learned from the shooting episode that allegedly involved Alabama basketball players, including since-dismissed Darius Miles and star freshman Brandon Miller, according to my pal, Terry Rosenthal: “Always make sure the guns are delivered by bench players, never a starter.”
Meanwhile, many are still wrestling with Alabama coach Nate Oats’ simplistic explanation that Miller (who police have said brought the gun to Miles, but is not facing criminal charges and has denied he knew what Miles had in mind) was just “in the wrong spot at the wrong time.”
Hey, Coach: Where is a good place for your players to deliver guns?
As reader Gary Prager wrote, “Bottom line: If there’s no gun delivered there is no murder.”
— Since winning the national football championship, several Georgia football players, including a fresh transfer, have spent their spare time being arrested for felonies.
Now star DT Jalen Carter has been charged with reckless driving and racing for his part in a road racing crash that killed teammate Devin Willock, 20, and UGA recruiting analyst Chandler LeCroy, 24, who was driving the other car.
Shortly after Georgia crushed TCU for the national title, it signed WR Rodarius “Rara” Thomas, a transfer from Mississippi State who was soon arrested on a felony false imprisonment charge of a female student in a campus dorm room and a misdemeanor charge of family violence.
— As if there isn’t enough incivility corroding our sports, ESPN, in the business of trying to destroy sports since 1987, Sunday presented a charming basketball feature, “Historic Stare-Downs,” i.e., mean-mugging sure to bring a smile to thugs and bullies of all ages.
— Over at the NBA, where Adam Silver treats social decay with either silence or neglect, Grizzlies star Ja Morant, 23, was the focus of more police attention: accused of repeatedly punching a teenage boy in the head and threatening him with a gun. Morant claimed self defense and denied the gun accusation.
The episode, according to The Washington Post, citing police reports, occurred four days after Morant allegedly threatened the head of security at a Memphis mall.
With Silver’s meek indulgence, Memphis last season became the franchise that had its female dancers and the p.a. system lead players and fans in chants of “Whoop That Trick” — street slang for beating one’s girlfriend or a prostitute, also heard in a rap “song” chanted by Al Kapone.
Still, we continue to call it “sports.”
ESPN feels compelled to “improve” on everything it touches, even if it reinvents the flat tire.
It’s NHL telecasts now include distracting, moving, video game-like small graphics that identify players as they skate. A defenseman fires a shot toward the net from near the blue line and the puck disappears behind a graphic that reads “Ovechkin.”
Lose it! Don’t further clutter live play! If they want us to focus on Alex Ovechkin or Omar Bradley, that’s what replays are for!
It remains, as in the last 30 years, tough to figure:
Saturday on Fox, Connecticut’s women led DePaul by three points. There were seven seconds left and it was DePaul’s ball. Surely, UConn coach Geno Auriemma would choose to give a foul, making it almost impossible for DePaul to tie the score sans a series of near impossibilities.
But UConn allowed the ball to be advanced up court, almost unguarded, allowing DePaul an open look to tie short of the buzzer. DePaul missed, but first UConn provided the unwelcome invite.
Monday at the Knicks, the Celtics essentially chose to lose before halftime, hitting two of their first 19 3-point shots. They finished having made 9 of 42 from 3-point range in a 15-point loss, and a prefab stinker.
How anyone could have left The Garden on Monday night satisfied that they’d paid — and big — to watch an NBA game is evidence of badly diminished sports standards.
Still wondering who won Terry Bradshaw’s $1 million.
SAN FRANCISCO — Mike Singletary’s passionate speech came to an impactful pause while he described Patrick Willis, a former star 49ers linebacker Singletary
As soon as this week’s Southern California regional playoffs are completed for baseball and softball, it will be time to focus on the 2023-24 sports season,
This is the perfect time for the city of Oakland, its politicians and its citizens, to cast off the mooring ropes and set sail from Fantasy Island. Oakland need
PARIS – At first, Aryna Sabalenka thought the boos and derisive whistles coming from the French Open crowd were directed at her after a first-round victory Su