Wednesday, April 28, 2010

"Juuuuust a bit outside"

Michael Silver of Yahoo Sports is always a worthwhile read on the NFL, even if you don't share his point of view. He raised an extremely interesting question in his column yesterday - how much info does the NFL have a right to know about a player's background, and when has someone gone too far? We appear to have our answer, with Miami Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland apologizing for asking wide receiver Dez Bryant if his mother was a prostitute. I'll give Ireland credit for not refusing to comment or trying to lie his way out of the criticism he's getting, but there's no excuse for him doing that. Let's say Bryant's mother was in fact a prostitute at some point (which he says she was not) - how is that possibly relevant to whether Bryant was worth Miami drafting? Would he be less likely to catch a ball across the middle because he's upset about his family background? It was a classless move from an increasingly classless organization in south Florida.

The NCAA has named the late Myles Brand's replacement as president of the organization. It's Mark Emmert, most recently president at Washington (and before that LSU). Since they were going to pick another school president to follow Brand, I like this choice. Emmert showed at LSU he understands the role athletics plays in developing a school's reputation and what it means to the student body and community. Unlike Brand, who came in as "the man who fired Bobby Knight" and reveled in his pious persona, Emmert can bring the positives of understanding a president's concerns without all the grandstanding.

I've seen some silly mock drafts over the years, but I don't think I've ever seen one quite as absurd as this early 2011 one from Russ Lande for the Sporting News. He has Ahmad Black, the same Florida safety who would have been a midround pick in this year's draft at best, as the tenth best prospect. Jarriel King, a South Carolina offensive lineman who will be lucky to get five votes for the All-SEC team at the conference media day, is his supposed 18th pick. Mark Herzlich, a very good college linebacker who may or may not be the same after his comeback from cancer, is at number 20. If Lande had a computer randomly generate a list of 32 players who had started for two seasons of college football, it wouldn't look much more goofy as a 2011 mock draft than this does.

There aren't many of the true voices of an MLB team left, and no one other than Vin Scully in Los Angeles is as associated with their franchise as Bob Uecker is with Milwaukee. Couple that with his work in beer ads, Major League, even Mister Belvedere and you've got a true icon. That's why the news Uecker will have heart surgery and could miss as much as three months was so upsetting to people no matter what team they pull for. Hopefully he'll pull through just fine, but aftert losing Harry Kalas last year it's another reminder to appreciate legends like this while we've got them. You never know when one will be gone.

1 comment:

Jeremiah said...

Dolphin fans will be no different than other pro sports fans. If the Dolphins win this year, nobody is going to care about what a jackass Jeff Ireland is, whether it's to Dez Bryant or franchise cornerstones like Zach Thomas and Jason Taylor. He'll be touted as a smart "football" man who only cares about the bottom line and has a organized plan, unlike the Cam Cameron/Randy Mueller regime. However, if the Dolphins go 7-9 or 6-10 this year, this is the kind of crap that'll add lighter fluid to the fire. We all know Ron Zook got fired at Florida because he didn't win enough games, but the extra crap he had with the players' lack of discipline, the frat house incident, and the constant "we keep working and getting better and better" stock answer he gave after almost every critical question asked of him, sure made it easier to cut him loose. At least Zook had a little goodwill in the bank for being a nice guy and a good recruiter. Ireland has none of that. He's made a couple of decent draft choices, but no steals, and he's about 50/50 on player personnel moves (Brandon Marshall = good (we think). Gibril Wilson = BAD). I hope it works out, because this is the first time since 2004 that the Dolphins have had the same hierarchy (czar/GM/head coach) in place for at least three consecutive seasons, and you need some stability to thrive in this league.