Cuonzo goes gone-zo
So did anything happen in Knoxville yesterday?
Sweet buckets of sidewinding and finger pointing.
Here's Weeds view on this that also includes some prospective replacements for Cuonzo Martin as the University of Tennessee basketball coach.
The national guys are banging on the UT program.
Some of it's deserved. Some of it is getting to be a bit much.
So it goes. The Vols athletic department is an easy target right now.
But rather than keep the self-flagellation going, let's review:
The petition was a poor choice. It was then, and it gets worse by the week, especially now that UT is going to try to hire a new coach to replace a guy that ultimately made the Sweet 16 and was run out of town.
Martin deserves some criticism too. He's completely getting away with a very Saban-esque "This is where I want to be" and turned down a 500K raise and two-year extension to leave at possibility the worst time for UT.
This is a black eye for Dave Hart, at least for, as Weeds accurately pointed out, sitting on his fiddle while Rome burned. The silence during the season about the petition was bush league.
And with that quick turn, the Martin chapter is closed.
Maybe the fan base will learn from this. So too may Martin.
As for Hart, well, AD's have the chance to rewrite their histories quicker than anyone this side of pre-modern dictators. Think about it. If Hart can money whip a Gregg Marshall or some like that or if he finds the next Bruce Pearl — the clean, radio-edited version, mind you — then he turns the black eye of this morning into a testament that he can take a punch.
This much we do know — and Downtown Patrick Brown can attest — there's never a dull moment on the UT Vols beat.
Is there a more tone deaf organization than the NCAA. Seriously, Helen Keller would call Mark Emmert and Co. obtuse.
Egad. Among the many flaws the NCAA has, the PR department of the governing branch of college sports is a debacle.
How else could we explain that amid all the turmoil and hubbub and issues and possibilities that at least will completely change the face of college sports, that the first move of the NCAA under the spotlight of scrutiny is to give scholarship athletes free snacks? Who runs the NCAA planning committee, a former Delta executive?
Did the conversation go like this:
Mark Emmert: "We have to do something. We have to make a splash that we care about the kids."
Board member A: "Who's having a kid?"
Emmert: "No the student athletes. The KIDS."
Board member A: "Oh yeah. Where's my gold-plated chalice. I need some more Cinnamon Dolce Latte."
PR Chief: "Mark's right. I know what we can do. Let them eat cake."
Board member B: "We have cake. Awesome."
Emmert: "Go on PR."
PR Chief: "What is there big arguement? They're hungry. Shabazz Napier says there are hungry nights. We have no answer to the "Buy a pizza..." argument. So, let them have a 24-hour kitchen. Free snacks. Like the airlines did when everything was going bad, they gave us peanuts. Let's give them peanuts. Literally."
Board member B: "We have peanuts. Awesome."
With a union vote on tap later this month, the NCAA's effort of good will is to open the refrigerator rather than their check book.
Braves new issue
The Braves were rained out. We'll continue the Good, Bad and Uggla tomorrow.
That said, the Atlanta Braves remain in the news.
After being celebrated on the 40-year anniversary of hitting home run No. 715, Hank Aaron made some sweeping, stereotypical evaluations about people against President Obama and specifically his health care plan. It was in bad timing at best, and was his comments did not go unnoticed.
Now, the Braves have received 'hundreds' of racially charged letters than are calling for Aaron — a senior VP with the team — to be fired. Some of these letters are protesting Aaron's comments; other range clear to hatred and offensive language that changes the discourse because of their offensiveness.
Sitting here — and knowing that Aaron's comments offended some and the response has of course been over the top in some instances — we can't help but wonder, where did all the hate come from? Some of the letters that the Braves received according to USA Today were foul and filled with racially slurs.
This story became public on the day that baseball was celebrating Jackie Robinson's anniversary. Oh boy.
This and that
— The Freedom from Religion Foundation — the group that has badgered some of the high school coaches in the Chattanooga area — is now looking at college coaches and their role in religious influence on their teams. Clemson has received a letter from the FFRF that questions the "constitutional concerns about how the public university's football program is entangled with religion," as reported by the Greenville News. Oh buckets. Some of the moves suggested by the FFRF interlopers: eliminate the position of team chaplain, quit giving out Bibles and stop organizing devotional meetings.
— The NBA regular season ends today. This is like Navin R. Johnson screaming, "The new phone books are here. The new phone books are here." It's a big deal. And it's not. There are still some possible movements in the playoff seedings, and there could be some teams lose on purpose tonight to affect their seeds. NBA action — it's fantastic.
— Chris Johnson, the former Titans running back, visited the Jets. He did not agree to a deal. It will be very interesting to see what kind of offer CJ2K gets. We think there will be a slew of one-year offers but very few multi-year deals on the table. Thoughts?
Gang, feel free to rap on any of the above, and remember, it's good to be the king.
If you need a talking point, well, here's one:
Peter Billingsley is 43 today. Yep, 43. Peter Billingsley is the kid that played Ralphie in Christmas Story.
What's your Rushmore of one-and-done child actors — kids that had one monster role and then never did anything of note again — of all-time?
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 ...