Thursday, August 5, 2010

Maybe they were trying to trick UK's lawyer into saying "It was 250 thousand"?

When did sports media decide there were no longer any standards at all for reporting if you're writing on the internet? Did I miss a meeting or something? I was surprised yesterday at Deadspin's A.J. Daulerio running a piece that trashes Brett Favre's personal character without any evidence to support the charges or even permission to make the allegation in the first place from their reluctant "source" Jenn Sterger. That was really bad but hey, what else would you expect from some crazy sports blog, right? How about the Chicago Sun-Times then, which inexplicably decided to include the idea Kentucky basketball had bought a player for 200 thousand dollars in the ninth paragraph of a story about his anticipated commitment without any proof at all. The story was first revised and later pulled off the web altogether, but The Big Lead has a screenshot of it for you to see for yourself how outrageously inappropriate this was. This is a major city newspaper alleging massive NCAA rule breaking, and the best they've got for support is "sources/rumors"?! That can't possibly happen, but it just did. What a disgrace.

Not many athletes who've been linked to PED use over the past decade have really meant that much to most of the public. Folks might have been surprised when Rafael Palmeiro got busted, but was there anyone really torn up inside about it? Lance Armstrong is different. People believe in the guy because his story is inspiring and it's legit. For so many whose lives have been impacted by cancer, he's special. Considering the cycling world may have been more aggressive about finding ways to cheat through science than any other sport, it's always been hard to believe that Armstrong never took part in any of those kinds of activities yet was able to beat everyone that did. With no positive tests though, to me Armstrong's got to be given the benefit of the doubt. The New York Times reports this morning that the government does not see it that way. The same agent who spent years working on bringing down Barry Bonds has now focused his energies on proving Armstrong was a PED user as well. I'm not sure I see why this is a particular investigative priority at the moment (as opposed to the BALCO case, where a lab was actively making illegal substances) but it clearly is. I suspect Lance has skeletons in his closet, but without a positive test (or an understandable, provable and believable explanation of how he's avoided having one while constantly being tested) it's going to be really hard to convince people he cheated.

Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt has been justifiably ripped for his decision this week to allow Jeremiah Masoli to transfer in from Oregon and play QB for the Rebels this season despite his multiple arrests and lying to his coach (which got him booted out of Eugene). Nutt rolled the dice on ex-Gator DB Jamar Hornsby last season coming out of JUCO last year and received an embarrassing arrest in return for his trouble. In one of those weird quirks of timing that life serves up, Hornsby pled guilty to the charges yesterday and will serve half a year in prison as a result. We don't know how Masoli will do in Oxford, but if nothing else we know what coach is the frontrunner to pursue former UGA QB Zach Mettenberger when his JUCO season ends this winter. Stay classy, Houston.

If Nutt could sign former Tennessee quarterback Erik Ainge, I'm sure he would. Ainge's career with the New York Jets will be over the second he gets through with his stay in rehab for recreational drug use. Ainge was a talented player who had a rough middle part of his Vol career, with alcohol apparently playing a factor in him falling out of favor with the coaches. He had a steroid related issue with the Jets two years ago and now has moved on to other drugs. Not many guys sharp enough to be QBs have gone down this particular path - only Todd Marinovich and Quincy Carter sprung to mind for me in the past couple of decades as guys who snorted their way out of the league. Hopefully for Ainge he gets his life together, but it's hard to understand how someone can be foolish enough to waste his talent this way.

I can't remember a period of time where I've had less interest in the movies than the past couple of years. My wife just had a surgery that's had her laid up for a few days, so I went to rent some recent release DVDs for the two of us to watch together. It was hard finding any that seemed even semi-promising at the .99 cent per night rate - there's a reason we hadn't gone to see them in the first place. Hot Tub Time Machine was mediocre, although it had its moments. Couples Retreat was just plain bad. I'm 37 now, so I thought maybe it was just one of those "getting older" things. Turns out the reason I can't find any decent comedies anymore isn't that I'm too old as much as it is that I'm American. Overseas audiences don't get our humor, and it turns out that's who Hollywood's more concerned about liking films these days than people here in the States. Every once in a while they'll crank out a Will Ferrell flick, but generally if you like American comedies you're screwed. Yippee.

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