Chris Rainey's likely reinstatement to the Florida football team has some folks up in arms. There's nothing people in the media like better than being able to feel righteous about something. I've already written my thoughts on Rainey's eventual return previously and don't see the point of repeating myself. One argument I've seen made repeatedly in the past day has been to say "if it was Meyer's daughter Rainey threatened, he wouldn't have been reinstated". Guess what? A judge in an auto theft case would probably sentence the guy who stole his car to a stiffer sentence than the one who stole someone else's. That's why we have a justice system that's at least theoretically based on reason as opposed to a personal desire for revenge. Sentences for crimes aren't uniform, they're based on the facts of a case. If there's no evidence of intent to carry out a threat and no previous history of violence, doesn't common sense say that should be treated differently than a case where someone did get violent? Rainey's not a saint. He's also not Lawrence Phillips or O.J. Simpson either. Urban Meyer knows him and his situation, and has chosen to allow Rainey the chance of being back by the Georgia game. I don't have a problem with that.
The Sports Illustrated piece with an ex-agent naming names on college players that he paid over two decades has stirred up lets of interest. One of the people who it appeared might have consequences from it was Mel Kiper, Jr. Well, never mind all that. Less than a day after the original story appeared, ESPN has ceased investigating what was alleged by Josh Luchs - that Kiper assisted in recruiting players for agent Gary Wichard by talking them up in phone calls and hyping them to the public. The odds are the answer to the question are mixed - Kiper does seem to excessively favor some Wichard clients like Kentwan Balmer, but not so many that he's become a pure shill for Wichard. Not sure how they exonerated Kiper so quickly, but I think the network's done themselves and him a raw deal by not giving off the image of a proper investigation being conducted. It makes sense for Kiper to be in frequent contact with agents considering his quest for info on all sides of the draft process, but he needs to be careful going forward about how that interaction is perceived even if he considers the guys he's dealing with friends.
Bud Selig and company want to expand the baseball postseason further. They'll try to cover up the reasons why by saying it gives more teams an opportunity to reach the playoffs (specifically that the Red Sox never miss them again). As usual, it's actually all about money and television programming. The new playoff games would reportedly become fodder for the Major League Baseball owned television channel. My concern is what this will do to the timetable for the postseason, because there are already way too many games played in absurdly cold outdoor temperatures in places with perpetual contenders like New York and Philadelphia. Adding more playoffs also diminishes the value of playoff statistics, not an inconsequential thing in a sport whose best fans tend to be obsessed with the numbers. I'm just not convinced this is the right move to make right now, even though they almost certainly will.
I've had several people ask me what I think of the radio situation in Gainesville, with Renee Gork being brought in to pair with Steve Russell on 850 in the mornings. First of all, I'm glad Renee got away from what was going to be an uncomfortable situation as long as she continued to live in Fayetteville as a result of the infamous "hat episode". The reaction to that was insanely over the top, and while it certainly wasn't designed to get her back to Gainesville I'm glad to see something positive come from it. I haven't heard Steve's show since he moved to mornings, but going from two to four hours a day without a partner was asking a lot. Steve believes callers are the primary focus of a show (which is a fundamental difference between us, but it's his show so he has every right to run it his way), and as someone who's worked mornings before I know there won't be that many callers before 8:30 unless there's a topic people are going crazy about. Having Renee there for him to go back and forth with and add some new ideas and energy should make that a better program. Gainesville listeners are lucky that beginning at 7 there's also Jeff Cardozo on 105 the Game and Brady Ackerman on 1230. That's a lot of worthwhile options for morning sports talk. As someone who's friends with all of them, I hope they're all able to succeed. (I was also asked if there was any chance I'd be returning to Gainesville radio. The circumstances that brought me to Columbia haven't changed, so that's not in the cards. Always glad to be on as a guest though.)