There are many things going on the world of sports that I find utterly ridiculous. Here is a brief list of sporting institutions that I think need to calm down and shut up:
- The National Collegiate Athletic Association. There is talk of the NCAA coming down on USC freshman standout O.J. Mayo because he accepted complimentary tickets to the Lakers-Nuggets game last week. Granted there has been no official comment by the NCAA, but it is clear that Mayo violated the “letter of the rule” that states that no athlete can receive gifts because of their status when he accepted the tickets from Nuggets star Carmelo Anthony. It is certainly NOT against the “spirit of the rule” to punish Mayo for accepting tickets from someone he has known since 7th grade.
- The National Collegiate Athletic Association (again). The story about which I posted yesterday may not have as happy of an ending as everyone may hope if the NCAA, again, sticks by the “letter of the law.” Ron Hunter coached his IUPUI Jaguars yesterday in bare feet to raise awareness to the lack of affordable shoes in Africa. He plans to deliver some of the shoes he raised personally to Nigeria in July. There is talk that, though his team would all like to join him, the NCAA will not allow the school or anyone else to pay for that trip. Again, this is a letter vs. spirit of the rule debate. The NCAA is supposed to uphold the mission of its universities–education–and I cannot think of a better educational experience than a humanitarian trip to Nigeria.
- St. Louis University. On Saturday, the St. Louis Bilikens head coach, Rick Majerus, appeared at a Hillary Clinton political rally and professed his pro-choice and pro-stem cell research personal views. Because of this, a Roman Catholic Archbishop is calling upon St. Louis–a Catholic university–to take “appropriate action” regarding the comments made by their head coach. This is absolutely absurd, in my view. First of all (not that I think it matters), Majerus was there as a private citizen. He was not there as a representative of the school in any way. Second of all, he is not the president or provost or even a dean of the school. He is the basketball coach. Third of all, there is absolutely no reason that employment at a Catholic university requires 100% agreement with every doctrine of the Catholic church. Majerus, a Catholic himself, and every other employee of Catholic schools (or any school, for that matter) around the country, should be able to believe anything they wish. Accepting employment at a specific institution is not a concession of one’s Freedom of Speech.
- The Critical Media of the Women’s Tennis Association. There are many members of the media calling for “punishment” for Maria Sharapova because of her dad’s “throat-slitting gesture” after defeating the world’s #1, Justine Henin this week. The WTA–correctly, in my estimation–dismissed the act as a “joke.” First of all, what should they do as “punishment?” Second of all, why is Sharapova even accountable for her father’s actions? And, finally, how is his “throat-slitting motion” so offensive. He is not telling her to kill someone. He was not even referring to her opponent. This whole this is ridiculous.
- The NFL Media Coverage. Yes, it is the 2-week feeding frenzy for the national media leading up to the Super Bowl, so this one does not surprise me, but it still needs to stop. Why is everyone so concerned about (a) Tom Brady’s boot, and (b) Tom Brady’s flower delivery methods? I understand that he is the most important player in the most important sporting event of the year, but does anyone think he may not play? And, does anyone think that he will really be affected? I still kind of understand it, but why is everyone so hung up on the flowers? Who cares? No, really, who cares?
- The NFL Gossip. What I understand even less is this whole gossip meets football obsession with Tony Romo, Jessica Simpson and their relationship. Now, maybe I am just not used to being thrust into the world of entertainment gossip, but is this really news? And, why do we care? Again, maybe I am not the audience for which these stories are intended, but…WHY ARE THEY ON ESPN?
- ESPN. Now this will probably end up as “Yet Another Pet Peeve,” but why are we stuck watching the X-Games–AGAIN?!? This is now the “Winter X-Games 14,” and have any of you ever watched the X-Games? In fact, do any of you even know someone that has ever watched the X-Games? Why does it take up valuable ESPN airtime. This has bothered me for, well, about 13 years now (after the novelty wore off). We successfully eradicated hockey from the ESPN airwaves, why have we not done the same to the X-Games?