Another great mailbag Friday. Here we go...
Enjoy the 5-at-10. I saw where you mentioned Charlie Sheen’s character used steroids in Major League. I was wondering what other sports movie characters do you think could have been caught up in some form of scandal?
Thanks, and keep up the good work.
Great question and thanks for the kind words. Here are our top-five fictional sports star scandals and the fictional headline with the fictional lead to the story (and since Ivan Drago was shown shooting up in Rocky IV, we decided to stay away from that series entirely – too many options):
Not such a Happy ending
Golfing wunderkind Happy Gilmore failed a drug test Thursday. The relative newcomer to golf with an unorthodox swing tested positive for at least three performance enhancement drugs, including anabolic steroids. Gilmore, who won the Tour Championship and the Gold Jacket in his first try thanks in large part to his absurd length off the tee, will be banned for a year.
Tin Cup doubly down
After a miraculous rise in last year’s U.S. Open, Roy “Tin Cup” McAvoy has been indicted in a three-state gambling ring. McAvoy was in contention until carding a 12 on the 72nd hole of the Open last year and that showing jumpstarted the once-stagnant golf career of the former range pro from Salome, Texas. That career appears to be in jeopardy now after McAvoy was part of a group of golf “hustlers” that were working the country club circuit through Oklahoma. Authorities are still searching for John Daly.
Baby Traffic – Little Crashes Everywhere
Former minor-league home run champ Crash Davis was in court contesting the claims that he was the father of twins of a Durham, N.C., woman. Davis, who had several brief stints in the majors and went on to become a minor league manager after his record-setting career, has become accustomed to these matters: he has seven kids with six women.
Roy Hobbs entered rehab Thursday to confront an admitted addiction to pain killers. Hobbs said he started using pain killers after a gun shot wound more than 15 years ago. The New York Knights did not comment on the news other than issuing the following statement: “We stand behind Roy in whatever he decides to do and after all he did for the club in his one year here, we’ll do whatever we can to help. He’s Roy Hobbs, the best there ever was in this game.”
Chitwood recruiting scandal
After leading Hickory High to an improbable championship over the mighty Bears of South Bend Central, Jimmy Chitwood has been ruled ineligible by the NCAA. Chitwood’s relationship with Myra Fleener, his live-in guardian, has raised questions about whether he can continue his basketball career. Chitwood had committed to Indiana, but reportedly Fleener was intent on the star shooter attending Wabash College. The latest report has quoted Chitwood as saying he may take his talents to South Bend if he’s cleared by the NCAA.
Chicago Bulls’ Michael Jordan dunks the ball during the Slam-Dunk championship in Chicago on Saturday, Feb. 6, 1988. (AP Photo/John Swart)
I saw you had a top-5 list of dunks that did not include Michael Jordan. Wow, could you be any more clear? Admit it, you love LeBron.
Well you can have him and his Big 3 and South Beach and all the rest. He will never win anything.
You got us. We are madly devoted to LeBron. We want to be his BFF and hang out with the Heatles and be the one that hands Chris Bosh a hanky when he tears up at “Beaches” and laughs at D-Wade’s poorly timed “cough” gags. You got us.
Dude, please read carefully – no one ever said LeBron was better than Jordan. Please re-read that. Let it go man.
Something tells us that JordanRules views MJ with the combined awe of Chuck Norris, Tim Tebow and the Dos Equis’ “Most Interesting Man in the World.”
In fact, let’s guess which MJ tattoo, JordanRules has:
- A simple Air Jordan logo with MJ flying through the air
- A No. 23 in a basketball that says something clever like “Jordan Rules” near it
- Or maybe something crazy like a tribute that plays off those great Chuck Norris jokes. Something like “MJ’s tears cure cancer… too bad he never cries.” Or “MJ counted to infinity – twice.” Or even “When the Boogeyman goes to bed, he checks under the bed for MJ.”
My question for you this week involves the Auburn Tigers. It seems like the media just won’t leave the defending national champions alone. From the HBO story, to the Tigerettes, to Cecil’s boy, to the rumors of the NCAA still investigating AU. Is this a case of ‘where there’s smoke there’s fire’ or is this just a widespread witch hunt led by Al from Dadeville?
Mostly this falls into the “To the victor, goes the spoils,” category. If Auburn was coming off an 8-4 season that included a win at the Chick-fil-A Bowl, all of the swirls of controversy would have never gotten this strong and would have already moved on to Eugene, Ore., or L.A. or Columbus or wherever the next BIG story was. And if Cam Newton was an OK player last season rather than putting up a once-in-generation type of one-year wonder, his story would have had a shelf-life of all of three days (and most likely it would have centered on Cecil from the start). But Auburn won every game and Cam Newton was the best player in the country, and those two facts will always draw attention. And frequently they draw controversy.
We need to be somewhat careful here for a couple of reasons: first, everyone sees in our bio where we went to college and we need to be careful not to feed the conspiracy theory beast that all media is biased (Sidenote: The most frequent college coverage complaint we received last year was why does the sports editor hate Auburn. So it goes.); second, as a personal policy we try not to call out the shortcomings of other media folks because we aren’t in their position (meaning we don’t know what they know or what situation they’re in) and we know the media gods are a lot like the golf gods – quick and vengeful – and normally as soon as you call someone out, you’re the next one that makes a mistake.
That said there were a lot of guys in traditional and non-traditional forms of media that poured a lot of effort into the Cam Newton story and put a lot of teeth into allegations that never really developed. There were a lot of folks – the InterWeb crowd especially – claiming that Newton was going to be ineligible and the NCAA was about to drop the hammer on Auburn. And when neither of those materialized there were some folks with some hurt feelings and hurt reputations that have continued to chase the stories and news that they may have already claimed was going to happen.
It’s hard to ignore the “where there’s smoke, there’s fire,” in regard to Auburn. And that’s never going to go away as long as Cecil Newton keeps opening the door for speculation with quotes like the ones today in the Charlotte paper that could be described as less-than-smart.
(Here’s what was in a story posted today by Joe Person, a reporter we know, like and respect: Asked whether he solicited money from Auburn, Newton said: "According to what the NCAA findings are, that's what we're going with." Read more.)
And that’s that. There may be something else that we don’t know or the NCAA could come up with new information that changes things. But while it’s hard to argue “where there’s smoke, there’s fire,” it’s more difficult to dispute, “if there’s no evidence there’s not much left to say.”
Photo by Jae C. Hong/Associated Press Alabama head coach Nick Saban poses with trophies during a news conference after the Alabama Crimson Tide defeated the Texas Longhorns in the NCAA National Championship game.
Pdavi loves college football. You know this.
That's why Pdavi has been really mean lately, it's the off-season. This is the time of year when sports radio makes us listen to daily feedings of things like (in old raspy southern voice) "Who's your Top 10 left-handed SEC Quarterbacks who were All-American's by their sophomore season that have also bowled a 225 or better? Give us a call, we want to know what you think about this issue."
So here's my off-season question for you. With all the haters hating on how the BCS chooses college football's champion, which sport do you think best determines it's National Champion? Don't be afraid to go beyond the main four sports if need be.
At first we thought about golf because the entire field plays the same course. But then it occurred to us that to get to the NCAA final, you have to get invited and then the regionals are at different venues that play into different strengths.
We’ll go with track. If you run below a certain time at any particular qualifying events, you’re in the tournament. From there it’s about how fast you get from point A to point B; it’s about time. And time waits for no judge, no poll, no selection Sunday, no easy course, no difficult matchup, no strength of schedule and no at-large bid.
Track represents sports at its purest form. Are you faster than your opponents? That simplicity allows for pure competition and true champions.
We’ll go with track – just barely over women’s gymnastics and the BCS.
Are you going to have a 5-at-10 on July 4th.
Yes. See you then, and enjoy the weekend. God Bless America.
Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...