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More on College Sports and Amateurism
[Posted Wed. a.m.]
Note: I had some surgery Monday and boy, yesterday, Tuesday, sucked. But I’ll be back and better than ever soon. No biggie. Just a lot of pain for a few days. Trying not to take oxycodone, but probably should have.
NBA Quiz: Name the six averaging 26 points per game as of Monday. Answer below.
AP Poll (Feb. 26)
1. Virginia 26-2 (48)
2. Michigan State 28-3 (17)
3. Xavier 25-4
4. Villanova 25-4
5. Duke 24-5
6. Kansas 23-6
7. Gonzaga 27-4
8. Purdue 26-5
9. North Carolina 22-7
10. Cincinnati 25-4
11. Wichita State 23-5...they’re movin’ back up...movin’ back up...to the East Side....
17. Rhode Island 23-4
18. Clemson 21-7...kind of surprised how high the ranking is
19. Arizona 22-7
24. Middle Tennessee 23-5
--So Monday, when I saw Duke-Virginia Tech was close, I switched to it for the second half, after watching the Knicks’ stirring first half performance against the Warriors (more on that in a bit), and at first I didn’t know who was doing the color analysis for ESPN (it was Dan Dakich subbing for Jay Bilas, who normally does the Monday night ACC game), and Dakich ripped the referees for continually going over to Coach K whenever he called them over. Dakich was practically screaming that the officials needed to be referees, and not always fall for Coach K’s ploy, which drives opposing coaches nuts as well.
The point being, you don’t have to talk to the coaches. Ignore them...or tee ‘em up. As Dakich said, ‘Just because the guy has won a ton of games doesn’t mean he gets special privileges,’ and Dakich was right. The refs were just listening like little schoolchildren. ‘Yes, Mr. Krzyzewski, you’re right, we need to call that play.’
But I missed Dakich ripping Marvin Bagley III, out of nowhere, for saying Duke’s four-game winning streak in Bagley’s absence from an injury was a direct result of the projected top 5 pick’s selfishness. I must say, Wendell Carter Jr., after about the first ten games of the season, has looked to be the better future NBA talent to me, though both could be awesome.
Anyway, Virginia Tech pulled off a nice upset at home to clinch an NCAA Tournament berth, the Hokies now 21-9, 10-7, while the Blue Devils fell to 24-6, 12-5. [But wassup with VT’s Chris Clarke and his godawful hairdo?]
And one more on Duke. As I’ve been saying all year, they are only going as far as Grayson Allen takes them, Allen 4 of 15 from three Monday night.
--In other games of note Monday, 6 Kansas (24-6, 13-4) beat Texas (17-13, 7-10), as they continued their hot play, and 20 West Virginia (22-8, 11-6) had an important win at home against slumping 12 Texas Tech (22-8, 11-6).
--Tuesday, Miami blew a 16-point second half lead at Chapel Hill, but then Ja’Quan Newton hit a running 30-foot jumper with only a few ticks remaining to give the Hurricanes a critical 91-88 win over the No. 9 Tar Heels, Miami moving to 21-8, 10-7; Carolina 22-8, 11-6. Joel Berry II had 31 in defeat, including the tying three with 4.1 seconds left.
14 Auburn (24-6, 12-5) was upset at Arkansas (21-9, 10-7) 91-82, and No. 17 Rhode Island was destroyed by Saint Joseph’s (14-15, 9-8) at home, 78-48, the Rams (23-5, 15-2), held to just 28.1 percent from the field, 18 of 64, 3 of 29 from three. Yuck.
--Sunday night we had a terrific bit of sportsmanship in the Iowa-Northwestern game in Iowa City, the Hawkeyes’ Jordan Bohannon not only making seven 3s on his way to a 25-point effort that propelled Iowa to a 77-70 win, but with a chance to break the school record for consecutive free throws of 34 held by the late Iowa legend Chris Street, Bohanon pointed to the sky and intentionally missed the free throw that would’ve knocked Street out of the record books – with Street’s parents in attendance.
Bohannon, an Iowa native, said, “Obviously, that’s not my record to have; and, obviously, that record deserves to stay in his name. I’ve heard a lot (about Street); I’ve been really close with his family these past couple years and gotten to know them a lot.”
Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said he had thought about discussing the scenario with Bohannon but chose not to.
“I left it up to him, and that’s what he chose to do. It’s awesome,” McCaffery said.
Street died in a car accident midway through the 1993 season, having made the 34 in a row. He was an Iowa schoolboy legend who chose to stay home for his college ball, was a star player, and then was taken tragically. Bohannon’s move was as classy as it gets.
Iowa was only up eight at the time of the miss in the second half, but McCaffery said he wasn’t surprised, or upset, with the decision.
Both teams have had disappointing seasons, Iowa 13-18, 4-14; Northwestern 15-16, 6-12, as they head to the Big Ten conference tournament this week in New York.
Into the December file he goes, for all the right reasons.
--Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Monday announced a broad investigation into Michigan State’s handling of reports of sexual violence by Larry Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics doctor and athletic trainer at the school. Not good for the likes of hoops coach Tom Izzo and football coach Mark Dantonio.
Ms. DeVos said in a statement: “We expect MSU’s full and complete disclosure about its actions to protect students from sexual assault.”
Dantonio and Izzo have had players accused of sexual assault in the past, particularly in the case of the football program, but both coaches deny any responsibility, and in the case of Izzo, have said little, period.
--Colorado State coach Larry Eustachy agreed to step down after a “climate assessment” of the program found a toxic atmosphere. The school agreed not to divulge what prompted the investigation but there were stories under a prior school administration that Eustachy emotionally and verbally abused his players and created an atmosphere of fear and intimidation, though he continued to retain his job.
The Rams are 11-19 this season, including 4-13 in the Mountain West Conference.
He was 122-79 at CSU and is 524-337 in 27 seasons at Colorado State, Southern Mississippi, Iowa State, Utah State and Idaho.
His best season was 1999-2000, when Eustachy had Jamaal Tinsley and Marcus Fizer at Iowa State and the Cyclones went 32-5, along with a spot in the Elite Eight. Eustachy was named AP coach of the year for his efforts.
But when you watched him on the sidelines, you saw a guy as intense as any who has ever coached college hoops...a ticking time bomb.
--Meanwhile, regarding the latest rounds of scandal, when you look at the Yahoo Sports report and the balance sheet from former agent Andy Miller, yes, a lot of the stuff is minor, like a meal not properly reported here, another meal there. Or the case of Michigan State star Miles Bridges and his mother receiving some cash and a dinner, which the school investigated and found not to be true.
But I wrote last time of the big stuff; Arizona, Sean Miller and a $100,000 payment; or the issue with Seton Hall and Isaiah Whitehead. Some of the instances will result in severe repercussions, sanctions and penalties no doubt.
At the same time, though, you have the renewed cries about amateurism, or lack thereof in college football and basketball and how the athletes should be paid and all and I, personally, haven’t changed my mind.
The big schools are already paying athletes stipends, far and above the normal allowed back in the day, like for laundry money above and beyond the full athletic scholarship, so that now most programs pay the hoops and football players maybe $6,000 or $7,000, which on top of a free ride otherwise isn’t shabby.
So my suggestion has been hike these more, say to $10,000 for the larger institutions, which more than allows the players to fly home a few times each year, but, most importantly, give them guaranteed health insurance through the school for say ten years after graduation (or after four years in the program) with access to the team’s medical staff. That’s a significant benefit.
But beyond that, nothing more.
Others, though, have different opinions, but it’s the same old, same old. Nonetheless, here’s one:
Jason Gay / Wall Street Journal
“Look, I don’t want to sound like I’m pooh-poohing the revelations in the recent Yahoo Sports exclusive, which exposed fascinating financial details from the FBI’s investigation into the college game’s not-so-shadowy underworld – who’s getting paid, how it’s done, how extensive it is. Nor would I pooh-pooh ESPN’s report that government wiretaps allegedly caught Arizona coach Sean Miller discussing a $100,000 payment to secure a player. This good reporting on the government’s case is an important look under the hood, long overdue.
“But shock isn’t a solution here. People around the game have long known the score – and it’s been indicative in their reactions to these stories, which have basically been: Yeah, buddy, what do you think is going on here?
“ ‘It’s a horrible time for the game, but the game has begged, it’s been on its knees begging for change for years,’ said Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, who saw one of his own players, Wendell Carter Jr., connected to agent ‘runner’ Christian Dawkins – a key figure in the FBI’s wide-ranging bribery case – in the Yahoo report. Carter’s mother is alleged to have gotten a lunch from Dawkins.
“Lunch! Bring back the fainting couch! Why is the FBI patrolling NCAA compliance, anyway? (Krzyzewski said Carter’s mother told him she did not eat at the lunch; Duke contacted the NCAA and determined Wendell Carter Jr. had no eligibility issues and could continue to play.)....
“Yeah. So we know how college basketball pays the rent. Turns out it’s not strictly with folksy pledges of academic scholarships for players who intend to stay in school for eight months, or flimflam about the benefit of ‘exposure’ of the national stage. Turns out that at a good number of institutions – and be careful about pointing a finger from your high horse, because your school could be next! – the rent gets paid the same way it gets paid to coaches, NCAA executives and schools themselves: with cash.
“A pretty rinky-dink amount of cash, as it turns out. ESPN’s story on the FBI wiretaps alleges that Arizona’s Miller and Dawkins discussed a payment for incoming freshman Deandre Ayton. The payment? $100,000. (Miller, now benched as Arizona’s coach, said he’s ‘confident that I will be vindicated.’ An attorney hired by the university called allegations Ayton or his family received money or benefits ‘false and unfounded,’ stating that Ayton ‘has abided by all applicable rules and regulations.’)
“I don’t want to mock what $100,000 looks like to a college freshman. I can’t even imagine what my college roommates and I would have done with it, after we threw a week-long keg party and all bought new snowmobiles. But a hundred grand for a great recruit is laughably small change, when you consider the overall college basketball economy, where a guy like Sean Miller makes $2.6 million per season and the NCAA will take in a billion dollars from its television partners just for the privilege of showing March Madness in a few weeks. You could argue that a great college player getting $100,000 is, in its own way, exploitative.
“(And that alleged $100,000 is a big number in the FBI revelations thus far, which has a lot of five and four-figure payments that could be fit neatly inside a Scooby-Doo lunchbox, not to mention those scandalous dinners and lunches....
“This is where we are now, like it or not. College basketball – and college football – are not the sepia-toned postcards of nostalgia from generations past. They’re a multibillion dollar market economy in which almost everyone benefits, and only one valve – to the players – is shut off, because of some creaky, indefensible adherence to amateurism. Of course some money finds its way to the players. That’s what the details of this case show. Not a scandal. A market.
“Don’t look for the NCAA to acknowledge this, however. ‘These allegations, if true, point to systematic failures that must be fixed and fixed now if we want college sports in America. Simply put, people who engage in this kind of behavior have no place in college sports,’ NCAA president Mark Emmert said in a statement that deserved confetti and a laughing donkey noise at the end of it.
“You and I know where there is going. As the cops say on TV, we can do this the easy way, or the hard way. Sometime down the road, we’re going to wind up with a compensation system for the two mega-revenue college sports. Maybe it’s a completely free market, which would terrify everyone but the super-booster programs. More likely, it’s a structured stipend system – each player gets X – or an escrow payment that’s due upon graduation. It will likely end up in court, with schools/conferences seeking exemptions from Title IX requirements. It’s going to be tricky to figure out – but tricky’s not an excuse to ignore. If a school calculates that it’s not worth it, that’s fine – get out of big-time college sports, or drop down a division.
“In the shorter term, I like the proposals out there to eliminate the amateurism requirement – allow a college athlete in any sport (not just football or basketball) to accept sponsor dollars, outside jobs, agents, any side income they can get. The Olympics did this long ago, and somehow survived. I also think we’ll see, in basketball, the NBA stepping up and widening its development league – junking the dreadful one-and-done policy, lowering its age minimum, but simultaneously creating a more attractive alternative to the college game. If a player still opts to go to college, they’ll need to stay on at least a couple of seasons....
“I know why the system’s like this, and I’m betting you do, too. The empowered have benefitted enormously from the current set-up. It’s been a hell of a ride! Mostly everyone’s been able to roll in it – why do the hard work of revising the system?....
“But these are different days. We’re in an information-abundant era, where truth – yes, good, old-fashioned truth! – eventually outs. Everyone now knows too much – and good for college sports. Change is coming.”
One more...LeBron James weighed in Tuesday, James not having gone to college before entering the NBA.
“I don’t know if there’s any fixing the NCAA, I don’t think there is. It’s what’s been going on for many, many, many, many years. I don’t know how you can fix it. I don’t see how you can fix it.”
James questioned the compensation that some student-athletes receive – a free education – when the institutions they enroll in benefit the most from their athletic performance, not their academic one.
“Obviously, I’ve never been a part of it, so I don’t know all the ins and outs about it,” James said. “I do know what five-star athletes bring to a campus, both in basketball and football. I know how much these college coaches get paid. I know how much these colleges are gaining off these kids. ...I’ve always heard the narrative that they get a free education, but you guys are not bringing me on campus to get an education, you guys are bringing me on it to help you get to a Final Four or to a national championship, so it’s just a weird thing.”
James, who has two sons, a 10- and 13-year-old who are highly touted youth basketball players who are on track to play in college, said they will have to weigh their options as a family, with NCAA enrollment not a foregone conclusion by any means.
“But I know, as the NBA, we have to figure out a way that we can shore up our farm league, and if kids feel like they don’t want to be a part of that NCAA program, then we have something here for them to be able to jump back on and not have to worry about going overseas all the time, I guess.”
James wants to expand the G League, which was founded in 2001 and now includes 26 teams – each individually affiliated with an NBA franchise.
“Or you look at pro overseas; some of those guys get signed at 14, but they get put into this farm system where they’re able to grow and be around other professionals for three or four years. Then, when they’re ready, they hit the national team, or when they’re ready, they become a pro. So I think us, we have to kind of really figure that out, how we can do that.”
--Talk about a guy on a roll, it’s New Orleans’ All-Star Anthony Davis, who had 53 points and 18 rebounds on Monday in the Pelicans’ 125-116 win over the Suns, New Orleans’ (34-26) sixth straight as they adjust handily from the loss of fellow All-Star DeMarcus Cousins. Davis has more than picked up the slack, with four games of 42+ points during the streak.
Oh, and Davis had five blocks and fouled out the entire Phoenix frontcourt.
Meanwhile, Phoenix (18-44) has lost 10 in a row, 15 of 16.
--I watched a very entertaining first half Monday, Golden State at the Knicks, the Knicks up 64-63, then at the half I switched to Duke-Virginia Tech, saw Golden State scored the first 11 points of the third quarter, and then outscored New York 39-18 for the quarter on the way to a 125-111 win. And that’s how one team advances to 47-14, while the other falls to 24-38, boys and girls.
--Following up on the Kawhi Leonard situation, now it seems he has resumed working out with the Spurs at their practice facility, with hopes of returning by late March, league sources told ESPN.
Leonard had been in New York seeking advice on his right quad injury that has sidelined him all but nine games this season.
As I noted last week, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich had said he’d be surprised if Leonard returned this season, which led to all kinds of speculation Leonard’s days were numbered in San Antonio.
But this late in the season it’s hard to see Leonard contributing much as the Spurs stumble to the playoffs. While they currently have the fourth-seed, through Monday, they were just 3 ½ games ahead of the 9-slot.
--So I’m watching the local sports news during dinner Monday (all drugged up from my procedure), and the guy starts off by talking about Noah Syndergaard’s first start of the spring for the Mets, and let’s just say it was rather electric. Thor threw 22 pitches over two innings, including 11 fastballs that hit 100 mph!
Uh oh...all of us Mets fans thought. Not one of us would be happy with that. Sure, it’s great he’s back from his torn lat injury, but wasn’t this too much, too fast? Oh brother. We gotta dial Thor back!
But the most impressive pitch was a 92-mph changeup that fanned Jose Altuve, a pitch that Altuve said after would strike him out 100 times out of 100.
Well, new manager, former Indians pitching coach, Mickey Callaway didn’t seem concerned. “We just have to make sure he doesn’t overthrow, because he never has to.”
Hell, I want the guy to just throw 40 pitches, total, the rest of the spring! [Which is why I’m not a former pitching coach, now manager...I’m scared to death we’re going to lose Syndergaard before the season even starts.]
But if the guy is back....I think Citi Field will seem some big crowds come the summer.
--Shohei Ohtani was the DH for the Angels in their Cactus League game Monday, two days after his first outing on the mound, and he walked twice and a hard groundball single up the middle for an RBI, so a nice debut.
--Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times had a piece on Clayton Kershaw and the chance he opts out after this season. I don’t think he will, seeing as he’d be paid $70 million over the 2019-20 seasons. No one is going to pay him more than that, and add three or four more years. At least I don’t think so.
Yes, he’s only turning 30 in March, but there is already a lot of wear and turn on that body and arm, witness his recurring back issues, and in three of his last four seasons, it’s hard to remember he hasn’t thrown more than 27 starts!
So as Plaschke points out, the Dodgers can make things easy by offering another few years extension on the contract, if he starts out the season healthy, because Kershaw doesn’t want to leave, except there is one place he would go and that’s to the Rangers for a hometown life in Dallas.
For now, everyone is watching the back this spring.
“It begins March 29 against the San Francisco Giants, when he will make a Dodgers-record eighth opening-day start, ending a tie with Don Drysdale and Don Sutton.
“If Kershaw wants to look at those two Hall of Famers for guidance, he can consider their two divergent paths. Drysdale spent his entire career with the Dodgers and is still idolized in L.A. Sutton did not, and, regrettably, is not.”
--Two-time NL Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum, who hasn’t played since an ineffective nine-start stint with the Angels in 2016, has signed a one-year deal with the Rangers and it appears they want to give him a shot at being the closer.
--We note the passing of former pitcher Jack Hamilton, 79. Hamilton pitched for all or part of eight seasons in the big leagues, going 32-40 with a 4.53 ERA as both a starter and reliever.
In 1966 for the Mets, he was effective in both roles despite a 6-13 record, pitching to a respectable 3.93 ERA with 13 saves.
But in early 1967, the Mets traded him to the California Angels and it was with them Jack Hamilton became known forever for one pitch, a fastball that struck the head of Boston Red Sox slugger Tony Conigliaro, a budding superstar, that shortened the career of a potential Hall of Famer.
It was Aug. 18, and Hamilton was 8-2 for the Angeles when he started at Fenway Park.
Conigliaro, a local boy out of Revere, Mass., had burst on the scene as a 19-year-old, slugging 24 homers, and then leading the league with 32 in 1965. Early in ’67, he became the youngest American League player to reach 100 home runs at age 22.
But Hamilton delivered a pitch that decked him, Conigliaro barely moving as the fastball approached his head, the ball fracturing his cheekbone, dislocated his jaw and left him with retina damage and blurred vision. A photo of him emerged in a hospital bed, his left eye blackened, and then Sports Illustrated ran a famous photo of Tony C. on its cover that those of us of a certain age will never forget.
Hamilton told the Associated Press in 1987, “It was a high fastball. He didn’t move at all. He didn’t even flinch, jerk his head or anything. It was hard to sit there and take a pitch like that.”
Conigliaro missed the rest of the 1967 season and all of 1968. He returned to the Red Sox for 1969 and 1970, hitting 56 home runs over those seasons. But in 1971, he was traded to the Angels, the vision in his left eye deteriorating, and he struggled at the plate, retiring midseason.
Tony C. attempted a comeback with Boston in 1975, but he left the sport for good after 21 games.
In 1982, he suffered a heart attack and was confined to a nursing home afterward. He died in 1990 of kidney failure at the age of 45.
Jack Hamilton was out of baseball in 1969 after a poor season split between Cleveland and the Chicago White Sox.
--As reported by Ken Belson of the New York Times, Commissioner Roger Goodell is seeking revenge on Cowboys owner Jerry Jones by ordering Jones to pay millions of dollars for his efforts to derail negotiations to renew Goodell’s contract and for his outspoken defense of running back Ezekiel Elliott, after Goodell suspended him for six games before the season after the NFL investigated domestic-assault allegations.
Goodell has the support of many NFL owners and Jones will be ordered to pay the league’s legal fees incurred in the Elliott case, as well as the fees the compensation committee had to spend on defending itself against Jones’ allegations it was extending Goodell’s contract illegally. Jones hired high-profile lawyer David Boies and said he was prepared to sue the six owners on the compensation committee.
Neither the league nor Jones had comments on the impending penalties.
Jones ultimately backed down from his threats to sue, but at a December meeting of owners, many of them upbraided Jones, including some who rarely speak up on such matters.
Meanwhile, despite all the league’s problems, including declining interest, Goodell was given a five-year extension through which he has the possibility of earning as much as $200 million.
--Mel Kiper Jr. has an updated mock draft.
1. Cleveland: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming...Kiper says Allen made the biggest impression at the Senior Bowl
2. Giants: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
3. Indianapolis: Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State
4. Cleveland (from Houston): Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama
5. Denver: Sam Darnold, QB, USC
6. Jets: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma....yippee! C’mon, Cleveland...take Allen. Giants take Darnold!
7. Tampa Bay: Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame
8. Chicago: Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
9. San Francisco: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
10. Oakland: Roquan Smith, ILB, Georgia
11. Miami: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
--There are growing rumors that New England’s Rob Gronkowski is leaning towards retirement at age 28. I commented after his wicked concussion in the playoffs that I wouldn’t be surprised if he hung it up, and Gronk isn’t squelching such talk, tweeting this weekend: “Foresee your own future, control your own temptations, and your destiny will not just be reached, it will just be starting.”
--The USGA has made a major move in scuttling the 18-hole playoff for the U.S. Open, opting instead for a two-hole aggregate playoff starting this year. If a tie remains after two holes, the Open would move to sudden death.
The Masters is sudden death, British Open four-hole aggregate, and PGA Championship three-hole aggregate.
I think the PGA and British Open are too much, but like the idea of a two-hole affair. 18 holes sucked because everyone is back to work and it’s just not good for the sport. But for the Open, I would hope they picked a par-4 or 5 as one hole, and then a par-3 as the other.
--In Sunday’s final round of the Honda Classic, I missed a situation on the 16th hole when Justin Thomas confronted a fan for rooting against his shot. CBS mics picked up the unusual moment as Thomas ended up calling for the fan to be ejected.
A fan yelled “Get in the bunker!” after Thomas’ shot so Thomas quickly had him kicked out.
Thomas could be heard saying: “Who said that? Who yelled for that ball to get in the bunker? Was that you? Enjoy your day, buddy, you’re gone.”
He then pointed out the fan as someone in the “Seminole hat” before CBS went into its leaderboard graphic with background music.
It does seem a bit excessive, since the guy didn’t yell during his backswing. Yeah, all golf shout is obnoxious, but how is Thomas going to handle the heckling in Paris at next fall’s Ryder Cup?
--CBS reported that ratings for the final two rounds of the Honda, thanks to Tiger Woods sniffing the leaderboard, were up 38 percent over last year, Tiger not participating in it then.
--For the first time in eight seasons, the New York Rangers won’t be in the playoffs and when management a few weeks ago made it clear it was time to blow up the team and rebuild, Rangers fans were wondering just how seriously they should be taken.
Well, quite seriously, as it turned out, the Rangers trading away captain Ryan McDonagh and solid forward J.T. Miller to Tampa Bay for three players and two draft picks; they traded one-time star forward Rick Nash to the Bruins for some players and picks; and they dealt Nick Holden and their top goal scorer, Michael Grabner, to the Devils. Gone are some of the most successful and popular players of the past few seasons.
This is what happens when a team goes 3-13-1 in their last 17 games. I’ll miss not following them in the playoffs this year.
--A British boxer died early Sunday after falling ill following a light-heavyweight bout in Doncaster, England. Scott Westgarth, 31, had been taken to a local hospital after collapsing in the locker room following a 10-round decision victory over Dee Spellman.
“It’s terrible for the sport and terrible for the family, and we send our condolence’s to Scott’s family,” British Boxing chief Robert Smith told Reuters.
According to reports, Westgarth appeared uncomfortable during a post-bout television interview conducted before he went to the locker room, holding his head and appearing to wince in pain.
During the interview, per the New York Post, Westgarth said, “I will box anyone. I do it for the fun, not because I think I am going to be world-class fighter – I just do it purely for entertainment, and I am just glad we could put on a show and keep everyone entertained.”
According to Reuters, Westgarth is the first boxer to die as a result of a boxing match since Canada’s Tim Hague died two days after a fight in June. He reportedly suffered a brain hemorrhage after being knocked down multiple times during a bout against former Canadian Football League player Adam Braidwood. [Matt Bonesteel / Washington Post]
--Fellow Summit High School grad Steve G., noting my story on curling, recalled that a friend had parents that were from Canada and they used to get together with other Canadian compatriots at a local curling facility and it’s true, Plainfield, N.J., where I was born, had a curling club that was founded way back in 1963. It was the first, and still only, dedicated club in the state as far as I know.
--A woman discovered a highly venomous snake in her child’s lunchbox in where else, Australia. It was a juvenile eastern brown...again, another brown snake, one of the most venomous in the world. The snake was removed without incident by a reptile handler after the child was smart enough to close the box and call for help.
Yup, lots of snakes and wicked insects/spiders in the land Down Under, let alone crocs.
--So I’m really tired of the sexual harassment allegation stories, but I did read an extensive one on Ryan Seacrest. I always liked the guy, but some details from Suzie Hardy’s allegations, she having been a former stylist for Seacrest, were a bit creepy and tough to make up.
Like once she traveled at Seacrest’s request to his home to dress him, and another time, she said, he asked her through his assistant to come to his house after 8 p.m. to tie a necktie for him, a request Hardy refused.
Another time, Seacrest, while prepping for the 2007-08 “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” special asked Hardy to “take a nap” with him.
Eegads. I used to believe 51% of the world was made up of a-holes, but now I’m wondering if 51% of guys are also creeps. This case is going to be interesting to see how it ends up, Seacrest’s people fighting back hard.
--Meanwhile, our “hero dog,” Rex the German shepherd who was shot three times while protecting a 16-year-old during a home invasion in Washington last week is home after undergoing successful surgery, according to KCPQ.
Incredibly, Rex is expected to make a full recovery.
Owner Javier said, “That’s my little guy right there. That’s my best friend. He’s really traumatized. Now fast reactions will scare him and kind of like he’ll jump but I think we will get through it. Just work on it slowly.”
Still no arrests made. The intruders deserve the chair.
Top 3 songs for the week 3/7/70: #1 “Bridge Over Troubled Water” (Simon & Garfunkel) #2 “Travelin’ Band” (Creedence Clearwater Revival) #3 “Thank You (Falenttinme Be Mice Elf Agin)” (Sly & The Family Stone)...and...#4 “Rainy Night In Georgia” (Brook Benton...awesome tune...) #5 “Hey There Lonely Girl” (Eddie Holman) #6 “Ma Belle Amie” (The Tee Set) #7 “The Rapper” (The Jaggerz) #8 “Give Me Just A Little More Time” (Chairmen of The Board) #9 “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head” (B.J. Thomas) #10 “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” (Hollies...solid, diversified week...)
NBA Quiz Answer: Top six in scoring thru Monday: James Harden, HOU, 31.4; Anthony Davis, NOR, 28.2; Giannis Antetokounmpo, MIL, 27.6; Stephen Curry, GS, 26.7; LeBron James, CLE, 26.6; Damian Lillard, POR, 26.3
Kevin Durant, GS, 25.9; DeMarcus Cousins, NOR, 25.2.
Next Bar Chat, Monday.