By the Book

You have to hand it to the Concordia men’s basketball team. Not only did their exhibition game on Sunday afternoon mean the end of the worst summer in sports history, but it showed that nice guys could make headlines, too.
From Michael Vick to Tim Donaghy to Barry Bonds, people had their share of crap to deal with in what is usually a boring time of year in terms of professional sports.
I’m going to start with Michael Vick, just because this was the biggest story of the summer, and I’m not sure why.
First of all, yes Vick has tons of talent but I’m not sure his name and superstar belong in the same sentence. Kind of like Britney Spears and sane. Sure they have their moments, but for the most part they just disappoint people. Vick had one great game – at Green Bay in the 2002 playoffs when his Falcons became the first team to win a road playoff game in the snowy Wisconsin town.
But, Vick was never a quarterback. He was an athlete who could run like crazy and had a tremendous arm but he always made the wrong decision when to run and when to throw – his 52 interceptions in 74 games shows that his decision making wasn’t of “superstar” consistency.
The outrage surrounding the whole dog fighting case was absurd and idiotic, because if this was anything short of a murder of another human, no one would have been this outraged.
I’m not saying that I agree with the dog fighting “culture” but maybe this is a lesson to the media to become just as outraged when athletes go to prison for spousal abuse or anything Pacman Jones decides to do in Las Vegas.
Perhaps the happiest people throughout the whole Michael Vick situation were the NBA, because that took the spotlight off of what should have been the biggest scandal of the summer.
NBA referee Tim Donaghy, who refereed several playoff games last season, including the controversial Phoenix Suns-San Antonio Spurs Western Conference semi-final, was investigated by the FBI for point shaving and links to gambling. This was big news for a couple of days, but was overshadowed for most of the summer by other stories. But, why?
Apparently commissioner David Stern wanted to fire Donaghy in the middle of the season, but the FBI “asked” him not to, because it would hinder their investigation. Which means that the NBA knowingly assigned a dirty referee to playoff games?
One that was already thought of by many fans to have biased and at times just plain horrible refereeing?
Veeery interesting. This could without a doubt rock the NBA more than any of the other stories in this Summer of Sin. Especially if Donaghy starts naming names. However the one bright spot of this story is it gave us the billboard of the year courtesy of the NHL’s Dallas Stars.
“The only thing we shave is the ice.” Pure genius.
And finally, there is Big Head Barry, the Sultan of Steroids and whatever other name you want to call Major League Baseball’s new homerun king.
Barry Bonds hit his record-breaking 756th homerun against the Washington Nationals to break the record set by Hank Aaron. People chose to basically ignore this because of accusations of steroid use.
I am on the side of respecting the record. Babe Ruth’s 715 homeruns aren’t questioned despite the fact that he was only playing against white competition. Aaron’s 755 homeruns aren’t questioned despite the rampant use of amphetamines in the 1960s and 1970s. But we don’t just question Barry Bonds, we downright prosecute him despite no evidence that he failed a drug test, and the fact that whatever he took wasn’t illegal when he was taking it (the fact that he hasn’t failed a drug test under the new system all but proves he isn’t still using it.)
People just seem to rag on Bonds because he isn’t the nicest person. But this isn’t a popularity contest – he’s just a guy who can hit a baseball very well and nobody seems to think about that.
So this summer was a tough one for all major sports. Except for the NHL. But then that Rick Tocchet thing came up again.
Who would have bet on that?


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