Tuesday , March 18, 2014 - 2:54 PM
The sports world, to quote Regis Philbin, "is outta control."
I mean, congressmen texting pictures of their private parts and/or skinny dipping in the Sea of Galilee ... outta control (that’s fair and balanced, so take it easy).
So far in 2012, all of the following have taken place:
• Eleven conference commissioners and the Notre Dame athletic director decide that college football should have a four-team playoff. A few weeks later, one of those 11 conferences, the WAC, announces it will stop playing football in a year. So why did this guy have a vote?
• Some Ivy League guy named Jeremy Lin, after being waived by two NBA teams, proceeds to play like LeBron James for a month. Because of his play, his heritage (Asian-American) and the city he played in (New York), he becomes a global marketing icon. Which explains why the Knicks, the richest team in the league, let him leave as a free agent over money.
• Linsanity was nothing compared to Tebowmania. Tim Tebow leads the Denver Broncos to their first playoff win in six years. So naturally he was traded to the New York Jets. Who would now play quarterback for Denver? Why, of course, Peyton Manning. How could that be? Well, the Indianapolis Colts released him.
Sometimes I just say this out loud slowly ... the Indianapolis Colts released Peyton Manning.
Which pales in comparison to the NFL being sued by a few thousand of its former players, claiming the league knowingly did not do enough to promote safety. As a matter of pure coincidence, the league uncovers a bounty system by the New Orleans Saints, in which coaches and players knowingly took part in a cash bonus system based on hits that put players out of the game. The league suspends a head coach, an assistant and a player for a full season.
A full season!
• Which is nothing like what the NCAA did to Penn State in the aftermath of the Sandusky verdict and Freeh report.
• And which doesn’t compare to what the United States Anti Doping Agency did a couple of days ago to Lance Armstrong. They ban him for life and call him a cheater despite him passing more than 500 drug tests and failing none of them. Meanwhile, the rest of the sport is not so sure, may let him keep his seven Tour de France titles. Contributions to Armstrong’s cancer foundation explode.
• Speaking of money, the NHL commissioner announced the biggest TV deal in league history and proclaimed record attendance and revenues. Then three weeks later says the players must roll back salaries by 15 percent and free agency rights by 50 years, or else there will be no hockey season for the second time in nine years.
• The owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers files for bankruptcy. With that protection, a team he bought for $400 million -- with no money down -- less than a decade earlier, he is allowed to sell for more than $2 billion. That’s not all -- the deal also gives him part of the parking revenue going forward.
As for the Dodgers, there had only been one player with a contract worth $100 million or more ever traded in the major leagues. The Dodgers traded for two such players, one of whom is injured and can’t play until next Memorial Day.
• Tiger Woods not only can’t win a major, he can’t break par on the weekend in a major. Yet he’s playing the best he has in three years. Huh?
• Roger Federer at 31, becomes the No. 1 player in the world and won Wimbledon. Again!
• Roger Clemens at 50, after pitching for the Sugar Land Skeeters, eyes a return to the majors. Why? Because he wants to push back his possible entry into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
This type of logic only makes sense in two places: Congress and sports.
Yet our desire for sports, based on attendance, TV ratings and the amount of resources spent covering the athletes and the games they play, has never been greater than what it is right now.
Which lets you know one of two things. It’s either, look how great the games and the current athletes who play them in the 21st century are, or, boy, do we need a good distraction these days or what?
Sign up for e-mail news updates.