Thursday, July 24, 2008

Friday's Mental Floss

The Carolina Panthers are in Spartanburg, SC for the start of training camp. The first practice begins at 9:10a.m. on Saturday morning, and I will be there. This is the time of the year that officially kicks off the Sports department's version of "Hurricane Season" (just check out the News 14 Weather Team when the tropics start firing up--you get the picture). As of this morning, no word on the contract status of 1st round picks Jonathan Stewart and Jeff Otah, however, we hope to hear from GM Marty Hurney and Head Coach John Fox this afternoon. Keep watching News 14 Carolina for all your Panther Camp coverage, right through the pre-season and into the season opener with San Diego.

When will people learn? Seriously?

CMS came down hard on the East Mecklenburg H.S. football program, wiping out their 2007 season, and punishing 3 members of the coaching staff. The penalties come after a volunteer coach was found to have recruited players to play for the school.

3 players were ruled ineligible, and will be forced to sit out 1 game this season for every game they played last season.

It's hard for me to be sympathetic to situations like this one. The rules are in place. They are in place for a reason. Just as NASCAR was wrong to penalize Toyota to level the playing field, CMS is correct with these penalties for the same reason--keep people honest.

The coaches have not been fired, so their punishment is minor in financial terms, but major in the shame of being pointed out as rule breakers. The kids losing eligibility is major for them, having a game they love taken away from them.

Maybe there are extenuating circumstances for these players that we just don't know about. Maybe they filed the necessary papers, and they are just missing right now. Maybe the kids and coaches are innocent.

Isn't it time that people just accept the rules that are in place, rather than try to find ways around them? The ones getting hurt the most are the kids, and ultimately, the game.


The WNBA handed out fines and suspensions for the pushing match in Detroit the other night. 10 players, and Detroit assistant coach Rick Mahorn got varying degrees of suspensions and fines. Hats off to the league for implementing discipline for such an instance, considering there are no concrete rules surrounding players and coaches leaving the bench for altercations (such rules exist in the NBA). That incident was ugly for the WNBA, but it got their name in the papers, and on TV for a few minutes. Maybe that will kick-start interest in their produce again, considering it has fallen off quite a bit.

While the discipline is a positive, Detroit signing Nancy Lieberman to a 7-day contract is certainly a negative. If the WNBA wants to be considered legitimate as a league around the country, why resort to a (and I mean this with the utmost respect), "Humpy-Esque" move? Former Lowes Motor Speedway President and GM Humpy Wheeler was the king of these things. Dreaming up something to get folks interested in his product. How is the WNBA going to advance itself with a 50 year old player suiting up and playing against athletes half her age, and likely twice as talented as she is now? The answer is, it won't.

Detroit Head Coach Bill Laimbeer says he plans to use Lieberman in games, since he has lost some players due to injury and suspension stemming from the "fight," but realistically, this move comes off as nothing more than a publicity stunt, and a bad one at that.

If the WNBA needs a publicity stunt, here's an idea: Have Laimbeer suit back up in his Detroit Pistons uniform (the style he wore when he played), dip him in honey, and drop him into a glass tank full of bees. Why? Well, it is mildly connected to basketball, and people (at least basketball fans from NBA cities that hated Laimbeer), would pay good money, both in gas and admission, to watch that.

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