To those who once proudly proclaimed themselves as marauding members of the Ian Dury and the Blockheads Fan Club, I sincerely apologize for the paraphrasing of the title line but with Halloween fast approaching it seems that the world of sports has stepped up to the plate and is supplying cringe-worthy moments at the kind of dizzying pace that makes me reach for the Saw box-set for a little light afternoon viewing. So, without further ado, I present this month’s abbreviated list of sporting stories that go bump in the night – or at the very least leave me cold-sweating and yearning for simpler times.
3. There really should be nothing more to say at this point right here… but sadly there is. Let’s begin with the obvious – Khalif Mitchell is an idiot. This is not a reach, not a stretch. OK, he’s not your garden variety “Look Ma, I got the pencil eraser stuck all the way up my nose,” kind of idiot… more the “I have a T.O. Fathead in my shower stall,” kind of idiot – the kind that flaunts his lack of discipline and complete disregard for the consequences of his actions in the face of his Fan Base and team.
Not only is the content of the Tweet disgraceful and offensive, the resultant fall-out, Twitter apology and emergence of the defendants of Free Speech left the kind of taste in one’s mouth generally reserved for Ear Wax Jelly Beans and Shakespeare performances by Keanu Reeves. Here’s Mitchell, claiming racial ignorance in another testament to the wonders and joys of the English language – a subject apparently no longer taught at the vaunted institution that is East Carolina University: “So I Never knew “Chink” was racist. I def. meant no harm. I was referring to Obama and Romney putting their person trust in Chinese Banks.” I am fine with the 1 Game suspension by the Lions for violating their social media policy and offending our sensibilities… perhaps we can add Sensitivity Training to his Anger Management studies – but for those of you with your placards and coonskin caps marching under the Free Speech Banners – here’s a thought you might appreciate. Shut up and take a long hard look at the flag you live under. Hate speech isn’t what we do here in Canada and if you really think yelling “Fire” in a crowded movie theatre is A-OK, then at least save it for a Twilight marathon.
2. The NFL has reached the mid-season point, which as we all know, means that certain basic factors have become evident as they do each and every year – the Cleveland Browns are most likely out of the playoffs, Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys still put on the most expensive debacle on turf and Rex Ryan must have compromising pictures of New York Jets owner Woody Johnson in bed with a farm animal in order to keep his job. This year, while Tim Tebow toils in the Big Apple/New Jersey on Special Teams as a punt protector, attention has been focused on a rookie quarterback in the spotlight in Washington, DC, one Robert Griffin III, who, depending on which sports authority you chose to follow is either, the next incarnation of Michael Vick, Cam Newton or Akili Smith.
The first two, despite their lackluster 2012 season-to-date, are in fact intended as complimentary comparisons and RG3’s stats are most definitely impressive – 149-223 (66.8%), 1,778 YDs, 8 TDs, 3 INTs in the passing game and 476 YDs and 6 TDs on the ground – but, like those already mentioned it is best to temper our enthusiasm. The Pittsburgh Steelers’ D, whose players average age is that of dirt, showed the young QB that experience is still the one factor missing from his bag of tricks and no amount of Mike Wilbon at Pardon The Interruption pumping his tires daily will get RG3 an MVP vote. To be honest, I’m not sure he even locks up Rookie of the Year over the Colts’ Andrew Luck but no matter… it’s always useful to have a fluffer in the room – you know, for the pillow…for the concussions. Play along kids, there might be a quiz later.
1. It was recently, and somewhat unbelievably noted that Bud Selig, the Commissar of Major League Baseball, is now the most ‘popular’ of the Big 4 Commissioners! Now, while I understand that this poll is not dissimilar to picking one’s favorite skin rash or bowel disorder, it must be noted that somehow, the man with a face that makes Mr. Bean’s look like it was carved from stone, has gone through a renaissance of sorts in recent years. Which, of course, is another way of saying – MLB hasn’t had a work stoppage since the Montreal Expos got hosed in 1994. Is it really any wonder that Donald Fehr has been taken off our Nation’s Christmas Card list?
While Gary Bettman battles Fehr and Loathing 2.0 and Roger Goodell attempts to impose a Thor’s Hammer of discipline on the NFL, the previous long-time reigning popularity Champ David Stern, fresh from his own labour dispute, announced that he will retire to the Old Commish Home in 2014. Somehow, the Man with the Rubber Mask, who thinks an All-Star Game should decide home-field advantage in the World Series is now the belle of the ball-game in the eyes of a discerning public. Somehow, a man who continues to uphold the notion that Pete Rose doesn’t belong in the Hall of Fame, who has publicly hung the Home Run hitters whose steroid use revitalized the sport of baseball out to dry and is, on the testimony of most who meet him, bat guano crazy, is now wearing the crown! Sure, why not… pass the remote… I think the Simpsons’ Treehose of Horror is on…
Until next time Kelowna… take care of yourselves and your loved ones.