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Archive for September, 2010

This just in: Sport is full of man-children.

The recent brief hiatus was caused by rain in Queens; the delay at the Open ate the beginning of my week and then threw everything off.  So, sorry.

It will not come as a surprise to you that I am not a proper sportswriter.  That is, after all, why I have this blog.  I go to comparatively few live sporting events, and since many of those are Ivy League football games or played by the Mets, they don’t really count.  I certainly do not have a pass into professional locker rooms.  And I probably wouldn’t want to go in, even if I did.

Is it disgraceful that the Jets seem to have harassed a female reporter?  Of course.  Were Clinton Portis’s subsequent comments offensive and asinine?  Definitely.

Is any of this surprising?  Not at all.

Misogyny–of many kinds–is structural in the sporting industry.  Women are relegated to sideline reporters, asking inane softball questions.  Often there will be a token woman in a studio crew; she will rarely talk, but she will have good hair.  Cheerleaders exist, and wear less every year.  Bill Simmons still has a job.  For crying out loud, Sports Illustrated has the swimsuit issue.

On a less pleasant level, many athletes assault or otherwise demean women, and go relatively unpunished–and those are only the ones we hear about.  Indeed, we often still lionize the perpetrators.  We certainly hold them to no particular standard.

I suppose my real beef here is this: the sporting media went absolutely nuts over this incident with the Jets.  We’re still hearing about it.  And it is bad.  But it is also symptomatic, and of a disease which the sporting media feeds and perpetuates.  And until everyone’s act cleans up, I have no patience for this ridiculous posturing.

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Manners cost nothing.

We're running photos of Mardy as long as we can. Woo, Mardy!

You’ve seen this happen.  You’re watching tennis, and someone gets unbelievably lucky hitting the net-cord, or a shot that was mostly desperation and very little hope lands in.  At this point, unless the player concerned is a complete and utter jackass, he will make some gesture of apology.

I think this is the right thing to do.  The woman commentating (badly) on the Fish vs Clement match on usopen.org radio, however, disagrees with me.  She says something along the lines of, “You’re not sorry.  You won the point.  Don’t say you’re sorry.  I don’t understand why they do that.”

No, of course he’s not sorry he won the point.  But that’s not why he’s apologizing.  He had no control over the outcome , and he is acknowledging that Lady Luck has (at least temporarily) deserted his opponent.  You should never apologize for being better, but you should always bemoan someone else’s misfortune.  Unless he’s Novak Djokovic.  Then you just point and laugh.

I was surprised that there is disagreement on this behavior, since I’ve always assumed it was a universal practice.  But I’ll sound you out.

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The thing that makes me the most upset about the Pakistani cricket corruption kerfuffle (apart from how it landed cricket in the real news for the worst possible reason) is that Mohammad Amir is basically screwed.

Let’s say he did cheat, and is found guilty.  Well, then he faces at least a substantial if not permanent ban.  Which he should.  And a substantial ban may turn into a permanent ban, because taking two or so years off at the beginning of your Test career is often not strategic.  This is a shame, because he appeared to be an electrifying young bowler, and we always need more of those.  The best argument for Test (or: proper) cricket is bowling that excites.

Let’s say he didn’t cheat, or is found innocent.  He will still have a cloud hanging over his head.  This is unfair, I’m not saying it’s not.  But it’s the way it is.

Look, the kid is young, and not nearly as much to be blamed, if he is guilty, as his older teammates.  Yes, he should have known it was wrong.  In fact, I’m sure he does know it’s wrong.  But he’s not in a position to stand up for himself.  Should and could are not the same thing.

Plus, I’m pretty sure he’s adorable.

Even if he does need a haircut. And is twelve.

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Apparently he wants a shorter ban.

I recommend not being a scuzbucket, sir.  Usually works.  You don’t do something scuzzy and probably illegal, you don’t get suspended.  Not assaulting someone for a couple of months on the trot is not grounds for leniency.

It’s not often I agree with Terry Bradshaw, but he’s right in this case.  Mr. Roethlisberger’s behavior was completely inexcusable, and backing off on the punishment will imply to future NFL scuzbuckets that such behavior will lack retribution.  They already get away with a lot; we shouldn’t encourage them.

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Let me tell you a story.  There are two American tennis players, and they know each other, and one of them has progressed through to the third round of the US Open, and the other has not.  Let’s say that the one who has is giving a press conference.  Should you ask him about his own performance?  Or do you just want to talk about a guy whose name may or may not rhyme with Shmandy Shmoddick?

Guys.  Mardy Fish is still alive in the tournament.  He appears to be on the up.  Let’s ask him about him, because he’s still interesting right now.  And I’ve never noticed sweat dripping off the brim of his ballcap.

Woo, Mardy!

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