By popular request — a deluge of 10 emails — here’s more (Allan Malamud) mud in your eye:
•We have a tie for biggest sports-related hypocrites of the year: Nevada state officials and the National Football League.
Nevada’s Gaming Control Board banned fantasy football in the state, saying it was not a game of skill, as the fantasy leagues claim, but a game of luck, and was, thereby, gambling.
Of course, they are right.
But golly, how much of that decision was based on a righteous judgment about doing the right thing and how much was based on the fear that too much gambling action was being diverted from the state’s bread-and-butter casinos?
Then there is the NFL, with its sudden interest in breast cancer and awareness of women’s issues. Don’t you love the pink shoes and pink towels in games everywhere? And this, from a league that, at least initially, handled the Ray Rice situation like it had been just one of those unfortunate and isolated incidents. Boys will be boys, you know.
So far this year, there have been six arrests of NFL players for domestic violence and one for sexual assault. Maybe these guys can wear their pink shoes to court.
Give Terry Bradshaw credit. On his NFL on Fox panel appearances, he has remained steadfast in his stance that “Any NFL player who wrongly touches a woman ought to be tossed out of the league.” That flies in the face of good-old-boy TV commentary, and good for Bradshaw.
•Speaking of fantasy football leagues, Charles Pierce of the website Grantland summed up beautifully the reaction we should all have had to the barrage of TV ads hawking this stuff.
Wrote Pierce: “Behind the high-pressure tactics and high-end sophistication of the relentless ad campaign was the unmistakable glow of the cheap carny midway, the faint call of bozo over the water tank and the smell of old and decaying cotton candy.”
•Roger Federer lost in an early round of the prestigious Shanghai Masters tennis tournament last week. Obviously, he is too old and his career is toast — until he wins the Australian Open in January.
•Dodgers fans can clearly see the progress made after the departure of Ned Colletti as general manager. Once they got Colletti cleared out, there was nothing stopping the boys in blue in their march to the World Series.
Except the New York Mets.
•Two trades I will never understand: The Dodgers moving Dee Gordon and the Angels filling the gap by sending them Howie Kendrick. Even with Kendrick having a good year, it was still one of those trades that hurt both teams.
•It’s time for an update on the chronic traumatic encephalopathy death toll in the NFL.
Former linebacker Adrian Robinson Jr., who played at Temple University and then for two years with three NFL teams, including the San Diego Chargers, had CTE when he died. The diagnosis was made by the Boston Brain Bank, which is the keeper of such tragic statistics.
Robinson committed suicide, but did not shoot himself in the heart like Dave Duerson and Junior Seau. On May 16, he hung himself.
Hey, NFL. Keep talking about how much you are working to make the game safer.
And hey, big-time sports TV, keep talking about how horrifying those helmet-to-helmet hits are that create all the concussions that lead to the CTE, as you keep showing them, over and over again, on your highlights. Great ratings drivers, those collisions.
Talk about more candidates for our hypocrisy contest.
•Speaking of TV, does it never learn? Is it a prerequisite of being a TV executive that you ignore history?
Sunday, with the Denver Broncos and Cleveland Browns playing a back-and-forth game about to go into overtime, and with the network announcers gushing over how exciting a game it was, CBS switched to the Green Bay Packers-Chargers. Actually, not even the game, but merely the usual pregame drivel.
Remember Heidi? How can sports television ever forget Heidi?
Were all current TV executives in diapers in 1968, when NBC switched from the dramatic ending of the New York Jets-Oakland Raiders game to go to a movie about a little girl in the Alps? Switchboards all over the country nearly blew out and NBC eventually passed a rule that they’d never do that again. CBS isn’t NBC, but anybody doing NFL telecasts and not remembering Heidi needs to be taken out to the woodshed.
•The best definition of stupidity is repeating it.
In the wake of the Dodgers and Angels postseason failures, I keep hearing on radio and TV, and reading letters to the editor, about how “fans deserve better.” Not sure exactly what “fans deserve.” I do know that more would be accomplished if fans would stop whining and voice their displeasure with their absence. Unsold tickets and poor TV ratings remain the greatest team-improvement motivation known to mankind.
•We end with a tribute to an athlete who always gave 100%, who learned from John Wooden the perspective of life over games, and who died all too young.
Dave Meyers was 62 when cancer took him recently. He was a UCLA All-American, was the NBA’s second draft choice in 1975, and had a five-year NBA career with the Milwaukee Bucks. He left the league, bothered by injuries and bewildered by how much his life work took him away from his family. He was about at huge contract time when he walked away to become a career grade school teacher.
We will assume Meyers is somewhere nice and peaceful now. We can picture Wooden sitting with him, arm around his shoulder, and they are not talking about the pick and roll.