When Bruce Pearl confessed to lying to the NCAA Friday, the thing everyone wanted to know was why he'd done it. What had prompted the Tennessee basketball coach to try and BS his way out of a tight spot, and how had he gotten busted doing so? Gary Parrish of CBS Sports has that answer: Pearl violated rules by welcoming a recruit at his house while he was a high school junior, then denied he'd done so. Unfortunately for Pearl, the NCAA already had a photo of the player with him in his house. The cuts in salary and time recruiting for the Vols announced the other day were Tennessee's bid to keep Pearl, but make no mistake the NCAA is not done with this subject. Pearl could easily be gone right around the time UT starts conference play, or he could be there for years. It's too bad, because he's been great for that program and a real asset for the conference. When you do something stupid though, a price must be paid.
I wasn't planning to weigh in on the Ines Sainz/New York Jets controversy, because her situation is a strange one to get a handle on. The standards for appropriate on air behavior and dress are different for someone in her role with Mexican TV than they would be in the USA. It's not clear just how bad the Jets harassment of her was or whether she made it known to them it was bothering her. With that much grey area, I intended to steer clear of the topic. Then Clinton Portis decided to pop off about it yesterday, with the Redskins running back making the idiotic claim that woman reporters "get to go and look at 53 packages" in the locker room. Actually, they don't. Most players are dressed when media is allowed in the locker room during the week. Postgame only some players walk around without clothes, and the stench of sweaty shoulder pads doesn't exactly set a sexy mood. Portis has since "apologized" with zero sincerity, since it's clearly forced. It's kind of amazing to me we're having to even discuss this topic in 2010. Women who are covering the NFL have every right to be anywhere a male reporter can go, and the idea they've spent their entire careers struggling to reach the pinnacle with the hope of someday seeing the Buffalo Bills kicker nude is beyond stupid.
Reggie Bush finally made a savvy PR move, although by waiting until the last possible minute to give up his Heisman Trophy he limited the value of that move. No one knows whether Bush was given a warning that the Heisman Trust was going to strip him of the award or whether he came to that conclusion on his own. Either way, it sounds better to have given the trophy back than it would have for them to demand it be returned. Bush still didn't actually apologize for anything, but this is probably as close as he's going to get to doing that. Kudos to Vince Young for making the decision not to seek to be awarded the Heisman retroactively - you don't take things like that out of the trash once someone has thrown them away.
LeBron James could have used some good PR guidance this offseason, but instead he went with whatever his crew suggested. It was known that he'd done damage to his reputation with the general public, but now we have specific info on just how bad it really is. Only five other sports figures are more disliked than James, a fairly extraordinary number considering he was liked by 24 percent of sports fans earlier this year. James seems determined to drive that number down even further based on his behavior on Twitter.