What has happened to sports? Can’t there be fun anymore?

| April 27, 2011

Once upon a time, newspaper sports sections and television sports were filled with happy, fun things.

Look at where we are now:

There may or may not be a National Football League season this year. The NFL owners and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell have told their players not to come around, that they are locked out!

The National Basketball Association is in about the same sorry situation.

Players and both the NFL and NBA want more money for themselves and for those who have gone before them. The NFL players do NOT want to play more games. They can be beaten up enough without adding two more games.

Everywhere you look, it’s money, money, money.

Don’t forget the scourge of drugs in all pro sports, especially baseball.

Too many of our colleges are being used by the one-and-dones, the basketball superstars who play one year and turn pro.

Too many of our colleges are tickled pink when they can get all the one-and-dones they can get. Yes, the colleges are users too.

$$$$$$

College football and basketball players are being bought and sold by relatives, agents and who knows what others.

The sport closest to my heart, Major League Baseball, is in such terrible shape that Commissioner Bud Selig has had to use his powers to take control of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Yes, the Dodgers, the team of Pee Wee Reese, Jackie Robinson, Duke Snider, Roy Campanella, Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale and on and on. The Dodgers’ owner and his wife are locked in a bitter divorce that has left the legendary team in shambles. Selig said that he will appoint someone to operate the Los Angeles team  for MLB.

Multiple college and professional athletes make headlines each day. Pot and worse. Players beating up girlfriends.

Just when we think we have heard it all, here comes a news flash that Cincinnati Reds pitcher Mike Leake was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of shoplifting from a department store for allegedly trying to steal a half dozen T-shirts worth a total of $59.88.

The poor guy, 23, was signed by the Reds for a $2.3 million bonus. He is having to get by this season on just $425,000.

With all of that bad stuff going on, leave it to Bombastic Bob Knight, the Buckeye Bully, to make sure that he isn’t left out of the headlines. Knight can’t stand to go too long between rants about the University of Kentucky and the way its basketball program is run.

Take that, Joe B.!

“A bunch of cheating sons-of——-” is the way he has described UK’s basketball program.

Knight even cuffed Wildcat coach Joe B. Hall on the back of his head during one UK-IU game in Bloomington.

One of Joe B.’s assistants, a former FBI agent, wanted to take Knight on right then and there, but cooler heads prevailed.

Knight is a different animal. His grandfather once said that he taught his grandson to play checkers, but had to quit playing with him because he would go ballistic when he lost.

I guess there wasn’t  a garbage can to stuff his grandpa in the way he did a fan in Philadelphia. Knight had to learn from someone how to throw a chair all the way across IU’s basketball floor. That was his childish way of complaining about a referee’s decision that led to his ejection.

One of Joe B.’s best Kentucky teams handed perhaps Knight’s best IU team its only defeat and knocked the Hoosiers out of the NCAA Tournament.

Knight trails UK 18-15

Sudden thought: You don’t think that defeat could affect Knight so much that he just had to get himself in trouble by misleading the college basketball world with his wrong, wrong, wrong statement about last year’s Wildcat scholars. And surely the fact that Knight finished his coaching career on the short  end of his rivalry with UK. The teams played 33 times when Knight played Kentucky. The Cats won 18 of the 33 games. To be sure you understand, that left Knight trailing in the UK-IU series 18-15.

We make far too much about recruits and recruiting. Here’s how silly it gets:

A basketball prospect changes his mind and decommits from one college and says that he is going to commit to Central Florida.

Would someone please tell me what Central Florida is and where it is?

ESPN’s role?

Knight now works for ESPN. One wonders how much pressure the network  put on Knight to apologize. And to admit that he was wrong!

Perhaps the most dangerous powder keg that pro and college sports are sitting on is alcohol. The next time you go to a college or pro football game, stroll through the parking lots. Some college basketball arenas allow alcohol to be served. NBA teams serve it to fans who sit in the expensive seats.

While all of this is going on, a new trend has developed in both college and NBA arenas. Next time you attend one of those games or watch one on TV,  look for the people seated near the team benches sitting with their backs to the floor. They are there to watch for unruly fans and to keep the bench’s occupants safe.

Some colleges use uniformed police, others use plainclothes officers. Some teams take armed police officers with them on road trips. Some even sit at the end of the press table, close to the head coach.

The worst fans are the drunks at NFL games. If you take your kids or your wife, provide them with earplugs.

Yes, it’s that bad.

Cal strikes again!

Speaking of hoops  recruiting, UK basketball coach John Calipari has signed two-fifths of USA Today’s All-USA basketball team, 6-foot-7 Michael Gilchist of St. Patrick of Elizabeth, N.J., and 6-9 Anthony Davis of Chicago’s Perspective Charter School. Gilchirst is a forward, Davis a center.

No UK signee was on the five-man second team, but the Cats are getting two of the five-man third team, 6-10 forward Kyle Wiltjer of Portland, Ore., and 6-1 guard Marquis Teague of Indianapolis Pike. Wiltjer is a deadeye long-range three-point shooter.

Doc’s son tops

Doc Rivers, coach of the Boston Celtics, is the proud father of USA Today’s Player of the Year, Duke-bound 6-3 guard Austin Rivers of Winter Park, Fla.

Ky. State parents

Billy Donovan is getting a first-teamer, 6-5 guard Brad Beal of St. Louis Chaminade. Both of Beal’s parents were athletes at Kentucky State. His dad, Bobby, played football for the Thorobreds and his mother, Besta, played basketball.

Dead oaks

And one final you won’t believe this:

The Alabama football fan accused of poisoning oak trees where Auburn fans gather before home games, said that he just has “too much Bama in me.” And he added that he’s sorry – for what he’s done “to Alabama.”

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Category: Sports

About the Author (Author Profile)

Earl Cox, Sports Columnist
502.897.8910

Earl doesn¹t just write about sports legends, he counts many of them as his
friends. A member of the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame, he has been writing
about sports for 60 years. Incidentally, that¹s about how long it’s been
since he¹s cleaned his desk but he knows where everything is.

Comments (1)

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  1. GUY STRONG says:

    EARL,KNIGHT WAS ALSO BEATEN BY KY WHEN HE WAS AT ARMY WHEN RUPP WAS COACHING,SO,HE IS 15-19.
    CAL IS DESTROYING A GREAT PROGRAM WITH THEIR APPROVAL.THREE YEARS FROM NOW,HE WILL HAVE NO JUNIORS OR SENIORS.KY FANS ARE THE MOST GULLIBLE IN THE NATION..
    LET’EM SIGN OUT OF H.S. OR STAY THREE YEARS JUST LIKE BASEBALL.
    CAL’S LEGACY WON’T BE HOW MANY NBA’ERS HE PRODUCES,BUT,RATHER HOW MANY NCAA BANNERS HE HANGS IN RUPP ARENA.
    GOOD LUCK AND GOD BLESS,GUY