From the "Talks Too Much Studios" here we go.
Arkansas football coach Bobby Petrino speaks during a news conference at a Fayetteville, Ark., on Tuesday, April 3, 2012, after being released from a hospital after he was injured in a motorcycle accident on Sunday, April 1. The 51-year-old says he was not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash, which occurred on Arkansas Highway 16 in Madison County _ about 20 miles southeast of Fayetteville. State law does not require an adult rider wear a helmet. (AP Photo/Gareth Patterson)
I have great admiration for Arkansas Athletic Director Jeff Long. It took a lot of guts to do what he did on Tuesday night. The Arkansas fan base is now divided through no fault of his own. He was just in a no-win situation. I’m glad to see that there are some people out there who choose morals over wins. As a society we desire instant gratification so badly that we want to win by any means necessary. In relation to college athletics, how often do you think athletic directors hire a coach more for his morals than his ability to win?
As for the answer to your question about coaches being hired for morals rather than ability to win, well, the next time that happens likely would be the first. Petrino will get another job. Mike Price got a job. Butch Davis will get another job. So will Bruce Pearl and Jim Tressel when their show-cause penalties expire.
ADs and fan bases are not looking for someone that shapes and creates good people and hopefully wins — they want coaches who win that hopefully shapes and creates good people. Period.
Long made the right call and it took guts. And sadly, there are folks that think Arkansas should have found a way to bend the rules and turn a blind eye to Petrino's antics because dude is a brilliant play-caller. (And we completely believe that if he had not lied about it and tried to cover this up, he would still be employed this morning.)
That's part of the problem with those in sports that we put on a pedestal for doing something exceptionally well. They are great at golf, or calling plays or whatever and we expect matching greatness throughout.
That logic is tragically flawed.
First, these are human beings and they are going to make mistakes. They should pay for those mistakes, of course, and Petrino deserved to lose his job, but people make mistakes of all shapes and sizes. Petrino was not the only man in Arkansas to commit adultery or lie to his boss last week, he was just the only one that was the highest paid state employee to do it. (And he was the one that sent 4,300 text messages to that floozie, so there is that.)
This is not to try to make excuses for Petrino, but Long should have had a mild idea that Petrino was not exactly bringing a sterling reputation to Fayetteville when he hired him in 2007. We used this earlier in the week, but it's worth repeating here — here's former Falcons running back Warrick Dunn's quote in December 2007 after Petrino left the Falcons with three games left in his one NFL season and said good-bye to his players with a note in the locker room: "I guess Arkansas should be worried. Any family or any kid he recruits should worry. Do you really buy into what a guy says when he did the same thing to Louisville to come to Atlanta? He did the same thing to Atlanta to go to Arkansas. I think his history and rep speaks for itself.”
Plus, the athletes and coaches who have the gifts and the supreme drive for greatness more often than not are not overly flawed people. Period. They have long since been committed to being the best basketball player, pitcher, coach, golfer, quarterback, whatever and they have sacrificed a lot in that pursuit. Among those sacrifices frequently are the normal human maturation processes and interactions that shape most adults. It's part of the process and part of the pursuit of excellence and those that reach that level of excellence have become comfortable ignoring or sidestepping or destroying those normal barriers of decency in everyday life with which we all face.
We want them to be Brett Favre on the field and Tim Tebow off it and are disappointed when they disappoint us. This is not universal of course. There are plenty of good and decent people that are superstars in sports, but more and more frequently they are the exceptions rather than the rule.
And, those scumbags will always get another chance because they are great at their craft.
First off, let me say how pleased I am to have stumbled upon your column on the interweb. Great morning break material for sure. And I have to admit, I never thought that I would enjoy a column that so heavily discusses 3 sports that are not too high on my list — basketball, golf, and baseball. Kudos to you for that;. But then again, there is football, ahhhh beautiful football. Have to say that I can’t wait to get some insight into the SoCon from somewhere other than Boone. (I could lend my rooting interests, but would probably get a booo to the CAA and the ‘Stupid Tigers.’)
But I digress, I actually have a question for you. Is there ice in your world??? I do not believe that I have ever read a reference to hockey in any of your work. With the Stanley Cup playoffs (Best playoff tourney in sports mind you) kicking off this week, with a legit contender from Tenn. no less, what are your thoughts on the Cup playoffs and do you have a favorite??
Thanks and I look forward to hearing more now that we are getting closer to the NFL doing that pick ‘em thing soon.
Thanks for the kind words and for stopping by — feel free to frequent the joint as often as you like because as former friend of the show John Blutarsky once said, "Grab a brew, don't cost nothing." And yes, football is beautiful and we'll have a bunch more on the NFL draft — we love the draft, but you may have heard this — in the days ahead.
(We're definitely going to do a draft contest. Last year we did the No. 1 overall pick, the Titans first pick the 22nd pick and the Raiders' first pick, and if memory serves, friend of the show Quake from SportTalk won. This year we're going to change it up some because we know who the No. 1 pick is going to be and we need to have a clause in there about where B.J. Coleman lands. If you have any thoughts, feel free to share them.)
As for your question, we enjoy hockey, we just don't know a great deal about it.
Here's what we do know about hockey:
1) There is no sport that the divide between watching in person and on TV is greater than hockey. NASCAR is probably second, but hockey is so much better live than on TV it's hard to really explain.
2) Game 7s in baseball and the NBA are great, but DeBoner is spot on that Game 7 playoff hockey is super-special. (We'll concede that the Stanley Cup playoffs are fun, but we'll take March Madness as the best playoff tournament.)
3) In certain pockets of this country and especially in Canada, hockey fans are as close to SEC football fans in terms of passion and energy and knowledge and overblown expectation as you will find. So we have to respect that.
4) Nicknames across all sports are not as good today as they used to be. Baseball used to have the Splendid Splinter, Big Train, Shoeless and the Say Hey Kid. Now is has A-Rod and K-Rod and J-Hey and almost every other Initial-One Syllable combo you can think of. Basketball used to have the Iceman, the Human Highlight Film, The Big O, Zeke from Cabin Creek and now we have King and a bunch of blah. Football is crazy bland compared to the days of Crazy Legs, Broadway Joe, the Mad Stork and Sweetness. Hockey, however, still brings nickname greatness. From the legendary ones of Mr. Hockey, The Great One (sidenote: Wayne Gretzky's brother Brent was known as The Other One; that's good stuff) or "Boom Boom" to the clever ones of goalie Jim Carey, Net Detective to the modern era with Sid the Kid, Houdini, to Mario Jr. Plus, legendary net-minder Martin Brouder is known as Satan's Wallpaper.
5) We'll try to include a little more NHL now that the playoffs are here — and fair point about the Predators being a contender — but we just don't watch a lot of it on TV.
Luke Donald, left, of England, and amateur Patrick Cantlay walk across the Byron Nelson Bridge on the 13th hole during a practice round for the Masters golf tournament Tuesday, April 3, 2012, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Did you get a feeling from the crowd Bubba's miracle was on par with Larry Mize's chip in or even more spectacular?
FE to the C,
Bubba Watson's final full swing Sunday night at Augusta was truly remarkable. It's comparable to Mize's Masters-winning chip in 1987 because it all-but clinched the tournament and it happened in sudden death.
Mize's chip was magical because it was so unexpected that it actually went in, and Mize shared that surprise and joy with us. Bubba was trying to do exactly what he did, granted the degree of difficulty was still off the charts, but we read some quotes from Bubba's coaches at UGA and how they knew he had that shot. (Although whoever has the 153-yard-up-hill-pitching-wedge-that-you-have-to-hook-40-yards-on-the-biggest-stage-in-golf shot in his bag has too many shots. Seriously, all that moment really needed to be embraced by the Southern masses was Bubba taking a step back, handing his Budweiser to his caddie and saying, "Watch this.")
Bubba's eye-popping approach from the pinestraw to win the Masters was surreal. And since it's been a while, let's have a top 5 list in 10 words or less — yes the 5-in-10 by the 5-at-10 — of the best Masters shots of all time.
1) Jack's approach on No. 16 in 1986: Best Masters ever, more below.
2) Tiger's chip at No. 16 in 2005: The Nike commercial moment; somewhere Chris DiMarco weeps.
3) Mize's chip on No. 11 in 1987: Magical; somewhere Greg Norman weeps.
4) Bubba from the pinestraw last Sunday: Impossible; somewhere Oosthuizen wonders why he tossed the albatross ball
5) Mickelson from the pinestraw on No. 13 in 2010: Perfect snapshot of his career — great blend of "Wow" and "Why?"
(As for Nicklaus, it was the crowning shot of the best Masters ever. And it's our favorite because when the ball was in the air, Jack's son and caddie Jackie said, "Be good." And without missing a beat and the ball still in the air, Nicklaus bent over picked up his tee and said, "It is." Next level stuff right there.")
Question for Friday: Since The Bobster and The Volleyballer used state property cell phones, will all those 40 million texts be open to FOI rules? And if released, will you read them all?
And Ms. Dorrell isn't the only V-baller in the news. The golden Kerri Walsh and Misty May have struck a blow for the freedom to wear bikinis, so as to prevent the oppressive chaffing that the modesty unis would have caused. Another question for Friday: Will we stand for our V-ballers to be subjected to chaffing by the sadistic Olympic fascists? (Insert close-up photo of the front row signal caller's hands in the usual signal calling position here.)
No, but we'd make our beat writer comb through those puppies. In truth, here's saying that there's another shoe to drop. There are whispers of multiple mistresses for The Bobster. There is a growing conspiracy theory that the motorcycle wreck was a facade and the Volleyballer's fiance put a whipping on Petrino. (Although, first if you're coming up with a cover-up story, the motorcycle wreck is a terrible idea. And two, if you're going to come clean about everything else, why are you still keeping this a secret? What else are you trying to protect at this point?)
Plus, the revelations of the text of said text messages could be highly entertaining. Of course they likely would violate several fundamental guy rules. Gang, it's never a good idea to take pictures of your junk and put them out there. Never. Not at the age of 21 or 51. Remember this. Lesson two, if you work for a state agency and have the means, we highly suggest getting your own cell phone. Bobby P. made seven figures and now he's paying the price for using a state-funded cell phone.
As for the other volleyball new, well, we're all for freedom of expression. That's about all we have to say about that since we're already walking a jagged razor's edge about the show's family-oriented nature. (We did use junk in a sentence and it did not involve Fred Sanford, at least we pray Bobby Petrino did not invovle Fred Sanford in this. That would be really sick.)
While chaffing is a supreme concern for athletes of all levels and all walks of life — two words gang: Gold Bond — the Americans' decision will at least allow it to see the light of day on TV. let's just assume there will not be a huge demand for beach volleyball highlights between Iran and Kuwait — even with the flowing robes, striking... the Dalai Lama himself, 12th son of the Lama.
Thanks for the Final Four T-shirt and having the contest. It was fun. And I am thankful for Coach Cal's one-time Cats. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
What's your view on the one-done and Anthony Davis has to be the best one-and-done player ever right?
Thanks again for the 5@10.
Congrats on the contest. You deserved it.
As for the one-and-done, well, this may stun you, but we don't have a problem with it other than the system abuse that is possible for this guys to take 12 hours in the fall and then completely blow off winter semester and play hoops. (Although in retrospect, we had a few semesters at Auburn that we completely blew off, so who are we to say anything.)
We have always thought that any player that can go pro and make some coin should go pro and make some coin. Regardless of the sport. Granted there are some feel-good stories about kids staying in school to get their degrees and enjoy the experience — Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck, et al. — and that's great too. But let's be honest, those families are beyond comfortable so there's no huge need or rush to make a check.
And beyond the money, there's the injury factor. Everyone is a torn ACL away from seriously damaging their worth. Everyone, including the Uniblocker Anthony Davis. So, if you can be a first-round pick you have to go. Period.
As for the system, the complete fraud of winter semester for this one-and-doners must be addressed, but are we sure other changes are going to be better. And if they go to the baseball draft model, we'll have more and more kids leaving right from high school. If we try a two-year minimum, who's to say kids won't try overseas or junior college or whatever.
As for the bets one-and-doners, Anthony Davis is the best in hoops. Cam Newton is the best across all sports. We'll take Jeff Cohen — the kid that played "Chunk" in the "Goonies" — as the top one-and-done actor. And those dudes that did the Macarena as the biggest one-hit wonder in music. Here's a quick top-five in each category:
One and done in college hoops:
1) Anthony Davis
2) Carmelo Anthony
3) Derrick Rose
4) John Wall
5) Kevin Durant
One and done in all sports
1) Cam Newton
2) Anthony Davis
3) James "Buster" Douglas
4) Carmelo Anthony
5) Joe Charboneau
One and done actors
1) Jeff Cohen — Chunk in the "Goonies"
2) Patrick Fugit — Kid from "Almost Famous"
3) Linda Blair — girl from "The Exorcist" and let's be honest, if that was the highlight of your childhood here's saying you were in store for a litany of issues.
4) Paul Hogan — Crocodile Dundee... Now that's a knife
5) Peter Billingsley — Ralphie from "Christmas Story"
One and done songs (and these are not ranked in likability as much as popularity)
2) Who Let the Dogs Out
3) Ice, Ice Baby
4) Come On Eileen
5) I'm Too Sexy.
Feel free to share your views on any and all of these. (And yeah, maybe we do talk too much.)
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 ...