published Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

5-at-10: Clemens cleared, heat on for the Heat and the world's top-paid athletes

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    Former Major League Baseball pitcher Roger Clemens, left, with his attorney Rusty Hardin, arrives at federal court Monday, June 18, 2012. Clemens has been acquitted on all charges by a jury that decided he didn't lie to Congress when he denied using performance-enhancing drugs. . (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Don't forget our mailbag Friday, and we're looking for another contest between here and the British Open. Ideas?

From the "Talks Too Much" studios, here we go...

Clemens

Well, that was well worth the roughly $3 million in taxpayer's money. Yep, after almost two months and enough attorney fees to keep Matlock in a lifetime supply of Depends, Roger Clemens was found not guilty on all six charges — three counts of making false statements, two counts of perjury and one count of obstruction.

The charges were leveled after Clemens testified before Congress in 2008 that he did not use steroids. This verdict does not address the steroid issue, rather it states the jury believes Clemens did not lie to Congress about the steroid issue.

This also does not address the fact that the Hall of Fame voters — a group of folks who have a much lower burden of proof and a much higher intolerance for steroid use — will get their say on Clemens and Barry Bonds when each superstar appears on the HoF ballot for the first time this winter.

What this does address, though, is that Congress needs to stay focused on the bigger picture. Let's run the country boys and not concern ourselves with steroids in baseball or crowning a college football champ. Let's figure out a way to get gas under $2 a gallon rather than trying to uncover A-Rod's cousin or figure out why Boise State or TCU got jobbed.

And while there will be a slew of folks who still believe Clemens used steroids — heck, there are a slew of folks that believe almost every major leaguer from 1998-2004 at least tried PEDs — Clemens attacked these legal challenges the same way he attacked hitters. He was defiant and steadfast and determined and, in the end, he was on top.

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    Miami Heat power forward Chris Bosh dunks against the Oklahoma City Thunder during the second half at Game 2 of the NBA finals basketball series, Thursday, June 14, 2012, in Oklahoma City. The Heat won 100-96.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Game 4

The Miami Heatles and star LeBron James take a 2-1 lead into Game 4 tonight against the OKC Thunder.

It's the same spot the Heatles were in last year before imploding.

There seems to be a different feel about this Heat team in general and LeBron James in particular. That said, the youthful Thunder have little to lose tonight, and that seems like a dangerous spot for the Heat.

It just dawned on us why these NBA playoffs have been particularly engaging. Every game has a must-win feel, which is saying something in a seven-game series. And it has been that way for the last few rounds.

And watching the best in the world respond to the highest levels of pressure is enthralling. It's why we love the major tournaments in golf and tennis. (Well, except for the French Open, which is a tricked-up, hokey event that would be like playing a major golf tournament on a par-3 course. Seriously is there any "major" event in sports that is more shaped by the venue than the French Open?)

Anyhoo, where were we? Oh, Game 4. What do we expect? Well, we believe Kevin Durant will shoot better, especially from the foul line. We believe Shane Battier will shoot worse, especially from 3. We believe the Thunder will play swell and this will be a tight game in the final minute.

Something speaks of a Thunder win here, no? Even if LeBron plays light's out. Side note: Don't you think James has pulled Russell Westbrook aside and said, "Dude, sometimes the media is going to ride you and there's nothing you can do about it. Keep working hard."

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Money, money everywhere

Forbes unloaded its top-paid athletes list this week and the names at the top shocked the 5-at-10 into one of those," Do WHAT?" moments.

The top two are from the same sport. The top two are linked in almost every story about their sport. The top two are a convict and a congressman. Yep, the top paid sports stars of the last 12 months are Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. Cuh-Razy, huh?

The reason Mayweather makes so much coin is that he promotes every fight, meaning he handles all the income and the expenses, even to the point that he pays his opponent (there seems something inherently wrong with one fighter paying the other, no?). Mayweather spent less than an hour in the ring in his two bouts in the last 12 months and took home $85 million. That's enough cabbage to make Bill Gates say, "Dang."

Here's the top 10 according to Forbes and it takes into account salary, endorsements and the whole shebang.

  1. 1) Floyd Mayweather ($85 million)
  2. 2) Manny Pacquiao ($62 million)
  3. 3) Tiger Woods ($59.4 million)
  4. 4) Lebron James ($53 million)
  5. 5) Roger Federer ($52.7 million)
  6. 6) Kobe Bryant ($52.3 million)
  7. 7) Phil Mickelson ($47.8 million)
  8. 8) David Beckham ($46 million)
  9. 9) Cristiano Ronaldo ($42.5 million)
  10. 10) Peyton Manning ($42.4 million)

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This and that

— We were remiss for not discussing this Monday, but how about the rooster that jumped in front of the NBC camera as Bob Costas interviewed Open champ Webb Simpson Sunday night. Here's the video and know that this will be the standard that loons must meet. This guy was part Carl Spackler, part soccer houligan, part Foghorn Leghorn and 100-percent funny. Side note, Part I: Costas is short. Real short. Side note, Part II: Does Webb Simpson's mannerisms and speaking remind anyone else of a young Phil Mickelson?

— Aaron Hill became the fifth Arizona Diamondback to hit for the cycle in the franchise's 15 years. By contrast, the Chicago White Sox have had five cycles since 1901. Weird how the cycle became so notorious when it has little historical value. Know who has the record for most career cycles? Yes, the renowned trio of John Reilly, Bob Meusel and Babe Herman, each of whom hit three cycles.

— The NBA rules committee is looking at ways of taking flopping out of the game. Commissioner David Stern even has discussed video reviews after games of flopping incidents, and while we can see eliminating flopping as a sound goal, the ex-post floppo approach seems silly. And if that's adopted, where does it end? "Hey, LeBron, you got a way with a walk last week. Sorry, we're going to take away that basket from your stats." Here's an idea, challenge the refs to know the difference and call the game better. NBA officiating has never been worse and rather than discuss it, we're going to look at video reviews after the game? Great. And if they are going to make efforts to improve the game — and eliminating the river of flopping that clogs the lane against star centers would be a good start, why did they decide not to change the off-the-ball foul rule that allows teams the chance to hug the opponent's worst free throw shooter — aka the Hack-a-Shaq strategery. Those intentional off-the-ball fouls should be a free throw and possession, but no lets find a way to use replay on flopping. Sometimes we think David Stern is doing a "Weekend at the Commissioner's Office" and he's actually no longer there, they're just toting his body around ala "Weekend at Bernie's." Stern was the Godfather a decade ago; now he's getting into arguments with Jim Rome and worried about flopping. Ouch-standing.

— The Braves are leaking oil. Badly. Brandon Beachy's headed to the DL and he may be done for the year with a partial tear in his pitching elbow. Freddie Freeman has missed almost a week because of a finger injury. Brian McCann is hitting like Brian McCann't and the Braves are using Matt Diaz ENTIRELY too much. (Although you could make an argument that using Diaz and Eric "King of Queens" Hinske in anything more than pinch-hitting roles is too much.) That said, the Braves just need to hang on and survive this week with two more games against the scorching New York Yankees, who have won 10 straight, and the weekend in Boston. Atlanta (36-33) is 4.5 games back of Washington (38-26).

— Hats off to former UT pitcher and current Mets star R.A. Dickey, who has survived a bunch of arm injuries, re-invented himself as a knuckle-baller and has thrown back-to-back one-hitters. Good story all the way around.

— Last week, friend of the show CelticVol asked if Michael Jordan would ever approach the success he enjoyed as a player as the top executive of the Charlotte Bobcats. We said we doubted it. To prove that point, Jordan and the Bobcats have reportedly hired Mike Dunlap as their next coach. Yes, that Mike Dunlap who was an assistant at St. John's. As for heading coaching experience, Dunlap has the same amount as the 5-at-10 (yes Dunlap served as the interim coach at St. John's and at Arizona during times of emergencies, but still). With this type of hire, here's saying the Bobcats could very well take BiSpy with the second pick in the draft. You stay classy, Charlotte.

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Today's question(s)

You know we try to avoid the steroid discussion. It's tiresome and there are few things this side of partisan politics that are as cut-and-dried: People either believe steroids are baseball's greatest sin or that it doesn't really matter since so many players of that era allegedly used them. And, like the Rs and the Ds, there is little chance of changing someone's mind.

That said, the Clemens verdict puts the debate in a new position in regard to the Hall of Fame. Clemens was found not guilty of lying about steroid use, which is completely different than being found not guilty of steroid use. And truth be told, it's hard to believe he didn't use steroids.

Still, Clemens has been found not guilty in a court of law on charges involving steroids, and without actual evidence to the contrary, can you keep him out of the Hall now? And if you let Clemens in, where do you draw the line?

Discuss.

about Jay Greeson...

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 ...

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Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
chas9 said...

Recently Jay asked for popular songs to match with athletes in the news. Today's obvious play is a rousing chorus of "Rocket Man" for Mr. Clemens.

June 19, 2012 at 10:13 a.m.
jgreeson said...

From friend of the show StuckinKent —

Have a contest for how long the jury will be out on the Jerry Sandusky trial.....

I think Clemens did steroids. The government should stay 100% out of it. That being said, I kind of don't care if Clemens used steroids or not. I accused of him of using steroids before his name was even linked. I said to one of my friends, "I know Bonds used steroids, but does it really matter to his stats? Pitchers were using them too. Are you seriously telling me that you don't think that Roger Clemens ever used steroids? Look at how old he is- and he's pitching better than he ever has his whole career? Really?" Now there is something to be said for that they are illegal and people should be in trouble for using them. But I'm just not sure it should be enough to keep someone out of the Hall of Fame. But Pete Rose isn't in the Hall for doing something illegal. I can really be talked into either side of this. Today, I'm in more of a "Let them all in" mood. But I reserve the right to feel differently tomorrow.

June 19, 2012 at 11:11 a.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

You matched songs with athletes in the news and with our recent topic of songs you crank up by yourself but would make fun of your buddies for singing. Well-played indeed.

Stuck —

We'll pass on Sandusky.

And we can see your point on Clemens and the Hall. We're still uncertain how we feel, which in some ways you properly describe in the back and forth feeling. Alas.

When the next crew — Bonds, Clemens, Sosa, etc. — hit the ballot this winter, it will be either all or none. Right now we're leaning toward all, and like you said, come tomorrow we may say none.

That said, Pete Rose deserves to be in inducted into the Hall.... the day after he dies. Gambling on the sport has to be a lifetime ban — there's too much at stake — and after Rose's life is over, his contributions to the game should be in Cooperstown.

— 5-at-10

June 19, 2012 at 11:28 a.m.
Todd962 said...

The Bobcats have all the makings of a diaper fire. How Jordan can go from being so successful in his playing days to so so terrible in the office is mind blowing. He must have been so focused on his game that he never looked around to see how anyone was running anything else. Horse blinders.

I think Bond's arrogance will keep Clemens out of the hall. Cause they cant let one suspected player in and not another from the same generation. I think the HOF folks didnt like the fact that Bonds broke their beloved HR record and then was kind of an a hole throughout the last few years of his career. So I dont see Bonds ever getting in, and if he cant, then theyre not going to let any of them in. In my opinion though, you might as well let them all in. Every generation had their advantages of the times, this one was just incredibly more efficient at giving said advantage.

If you ask me they should just let them juice, give them aluminium bats, and equip pitchers and infielders with body armor. It could totally revitalize the lag in attendence, because chicks dig the long ball and everyone can appreciate 800ft homeruns. The rise in fan fatalites from foul balls could become an issue though...

June 19, 2012 at 11:30 a.m.
jgreeson said...

Mr. 962 —

A diaper fire filled with Indian food perhaps. The Bobcats appear to be Sex Panther on steroids — 100 percent of the time they make the wrong move every time. There are pieces of real Bobcat in there.

Interesting point on Bonds' all-around jerk-a-tude swaying the needle against all steroids users. We can see a lot of truth to that.

And yes, metal bats would increase attendance, and yes, dead fans would become an issue that the commissioner would need to address. Of course David Stern would let video replay handled it.

— 5-at-10

June 19, 2012 at 11:49 a.m.
chas9 said...

The Stern-Rome fussing was sad. Sounded like Stern was trying to play Rome, but regardless of the merits of the argument, I'll take any chance to say Rome must go.

Why doesn't the NBA schedule a few MORE days off during the playoffs so they can stretch into July or August?

As for the much more enjoyable college game, I and the three hoops guys at cbssports.com may be the only ones who care right now, but the three say if you draw a circle with a radius of 70 miles and set it down over Bloomington, Louisville and Lexington, it will contain next year's national champ.

June 19, 2012 at 12:35 p.m.
deboman said...

Read the item about Jordan hiring Dunlop and like everyone else said, What tha?? Who tha? Why tha?!?! But it may be a shrewd move by his Airness. This team is abyssmal and is not going to be a one season turnaround contender. He has a chance to bring in a coach, on the cheap no less, and work with some young players while building around top draft picks (considering he drafts more Durant, less Odom). If the new coach does well, he discovered a diamond in the rough. If not, he can then bring in a new, established coach to 'bring his young team to the next level'. Granted, the drafting of late has produced less then stellar results, but Dunlop is said to be a decent x's and o's kind of guy (think Olson brought him in to groom him as a successor)and could set some decent ground work. Now if Jordan can just bring someone in to help with the draft.

June 19, 2012 at 12:44 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

It won't take me long to get the jumpshot back, 5.

And what's a better sound bite - "Enjoy the jail cell, pal" or "That's a clown question, bro"?

In 13 years, Babe Herman had a .324 batting average with 181 homers and 997 RBIs. He had 1,818 hits. In short, he was actually pretty good. Meusel was a teammate of Ruth's and Gehrig's on the monster (cheating) Yankees teams of the 20s. He was a lifetime .309 hitter in 11 seasons. 156 homers, 1,067 RBIs and 1,693 career hits. Not Hall of Famers, but Hall of Pretty Good-ers. (Is that a word?) I mean, they were no Heinie Manush (He said Heinie.).

June 19, 2012 at 1:28 p.m.
Stewwie said...

I am all for getting flopping out of the NBA, but I think it's very difficult for a referee to make an accurate call during the game with this. I think a postgame review would help (they already do it for flagrant fouls) and then maybe implement a suspension policy similar to the one already in place for technical and flagrant fouls.

What makes this hard is that most charges are called when a defender draws contact and then intentionally falls backward to hit the floor. Technically, this is a flop since the offensive player doesn't totally force the defender down himself. But the defender has to fall to the ground or he won't get the call. So then you have to draw the line between a legitimate contact-and-fall and a defender who overreacts to little or no contact. Sometimes the ref just doesn't have the best angle to make this call correctly. But if players know a review is coming, maybe they'll cut the crap and quit trying to fool the refs.

As for NBA officiating, I think that it's way better now than it was in the 90s. Was travelling ever called in the 90s? How about palming? Every current all-star has been called for these violations over the past few years, and sometimes (gasp!), travelling is called when it's not really travelling. The refs have been a bit more lenient in the playoffs, but that's usually how it is (right or wrong) with everything including fouls and reactions to fouls.

June 19, 2012 at 1:39 p.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

You know that the college sport we discuss out of season is college football, which technically is never out of season, hey wait...

That said, while the IU, UK, LU boys have the three best rosters, don't count out the Blue Devils. And we think your UT Vols will be preseason top 15-20 range.

Deboman —

Fair points, but don't go using logic. That saps the fun right out of making fun of MJ (and in turn making JordanRules' head spin around).

There's talk that MJ will look to trade the No. 2 pick, and five years from now when Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is first-team All-defense and third-team All-NBA, Sam Bowie is going to scream "TASTE IT."

Spy —

We have no doubt you can come out of retirement and bang home a couple of open jumpers. We do doubt your ability to D-up, however.

And "Enjoy the jail cell pal," is the best athlete one-liner in recent memory.

Babe was good, but Meusel hit in a line-up that would have allowed us a chance to .300.

Skip to my Stew —

That's the rub about getting rid of the flop. Other than Shaq plowing Spud Webb, every charge every is technically a flop.

The recent upturn in abiding by the NBA rules does not counter the fact 96 percent of the officials in the NBA (and 99 percent of the ones in college hoops) think the crowds come to see them.

Sure the officiating is better than in the 1990s, but you could make a hard argument that the fix was in during the 90s. (Kings-Lakers Game 6, Donaghy, Jordan-rules, etc.) Plus, the bruising days of Riley's Knicks are thankfully in the rearview so the officiating feels improved either way.

— 5-at-10

June 19, 2012 at 2:45 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

I'll admit. The first step ain't what it used to be. And it wasn't much to start with.

OK, granted, the whole Clemens prosecution was a waste of time and energy and money. For that matter, so was the Bonds prosecution. They are both getting into the Hall. Not every player in there is a Roberto Clemente. There's some unscrupulous characters enshrined (I'm looking at you Cobb comma Ty.).

I think Clemens is a jerk, a phony and a tool. And he's still getting into the Hall. And I ain't diggin in against him today, either.

June 19, 2012 at 3:01 p.m.
Todd962 said...

That money list is absurd, how are these people making this much money!! I feel like I'm taking crazy pills.

The two top money makers are sitting at the summit of a dead sport thats dying more everyday. What number is the next boxer on the list. I'd bet there is a fictional boxer before the next legitimate money maker.

Number three is being questioned every other day as if hes not a contender anymore in his sport, and he lost a lot of his big name sponsors. Do these numbers include the check he wrote to his ex-wife?

Four is a ninja, an evil ninja in many eyes, but a nearly unstoppable force. But even he isnt as marketable as he once was. What happened to the "Ages of Lebron" commercials?

Five is considered an all time great but isnt even the greatest in his era. Where is Nadal and Joka...Djova...that serbian dude?

Six is an over the hill accused sex offender. Endorsement nightmare.

Seven is left handed...wierdo. He does know when I play golf behind people like him I think they are hitting back into me? Thats a stressful time for a heavy drinker on the golf course.

Eight is a past his prime soccer player married to a 15 minutes of fame singer. Why are we still talking about them? I just want to eat my bacon sundae from Burger King in peace, not see your funny British hairdo.

Nine is a talented waste of air who spends most of his time on the pitch rolling around demanding the magic healing spray they have. I hate that guy...but dang it he's good.

But ten is awesome. He went to UT and has super powers. Cant argue that. Unfortunately that guy's head is attached to his body with kryptonite right now. If he gets a big hit this season he could be done for forever.

Where are the baseball players? Has the constant fear of PED's pushed their marketability out the window?

June 19, 2012 at 3:40 p.m.
deboman said...

Todd...marvelous rundown of the list.

I find it very funny, in a bad sort of way, that Mayweather and PachyOw will never fight each other. However, their continued hype machines continue to inflate their value all the way to the top of the list. Too bad Mayweather fears the lack of bottled H2O will bring his career to a close in the pokey. Looks like he'll be hurting.

As it goes with contracts though, people are paid for what they have done, not necessarily what they are doing/will do. (Damn stoopid logic again)

Feel the same about Ronaldo. Of the list though, he is the only one entering his prime and providing game day value for the investment. Maybe we see his pimping Scotts turfbuilder or Bactine soon. Dude whines more than Sidney Crosby and flops with such charisma that it would bring a tear to the eye of Vlade Divac.

June 19, 2012 at 4:05 p.m.
chas9 said...

The Cager Vols will be pre-season 24 or 25.

June 19, 2012 at 4:30 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Spy

No doubt that the HoF is a fancy shed filled with a high-numbered collection of tools. And eventually Bonds and Clemens and the rest will get in.

And this Clemens decision may replace Palmero's finger wagging as the image of defiance in this steroid era.

962

OUT-standing rundown. And we laughed out loud at the thought of a six-BudLight deep 962 seeing a left on the 9th fairway at Moc Bend and out of fear of being hit at, launching a driver into the group ahead. After reading dude was a lefty, 962 offers a Bluto-after-smashing-hippie's-guitar "Sorry" and moving on.

Deboman

LBJnis in his prime too and great call on contracts being more about what a player did than what he is doing. Ask the Angels when they sign Albert's check every other week.

June 19, 2012 at 4:42 p.m.
Todd962 said...

Lots of legal preceedings in the sports world this week. Seems like Harvey Updyke is going to get a pretty fair trial and may be able to beat the wrap...

"When the judge asked if they had read or seen reports about the case, all but one of the potential jurors signaled yes. Seven indicated they worked for Auburn University and three said their spouses did."

Oh yeah...jury selection may take a while on this one.

June 19, 2012 at 4:50 p.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

We could see that, but could also see a spot or two higher — especially with Stokes showing out at the US junior games or where ever he is.

962 —

Hard to picture many smiling faces in the jury pool. Image the Voir Dire:

Updyke's attorney: "Juror 1, do you know my client."

Juror 1: "Nope, never seen that tree-killing S-O-B before in my life." (As the entire nods and three potential jurors shout "War Eagle.")

Updyke's attorney: "Strike Juror 1."

Judge: "This is the 13th jury pool we've tried couselor, how picky are you going to get?"

— 5-at-10

June 19, 2012 at 5 p.m.
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