This is a terribly disturbing time in sports, what with mind-boggling allegations of a marquee quarterback being part of a dogfighting operation and an NBA referee making calls to affect point spreads.
This is sickening, disgusting stuff. You shake your head in disbelief. You grimace. You begin to wonder if professional sports is even worthy of your attention any more.
Whatever happened to harmless scandals in sports, when trade demands and running up scores would draw headlines?
Times sure have changed. You hardly notice stories about training-camp holdouts any more. Drunk-driving and marijuana charges have become briefs in sports pages.
The big scoops nowadays are weirder. They concern players using performance-enhancing drugs or screwing around on their wives with busty strippers or scrapping with police. Oh, and let’s not forget Operation Slapshot.
Where are Rudy and Eddie the Eagle when you need them?
“Unfortunately, it’s all about money these days,” says Jim Bouton, a former major-league pitcher who evolved into an author and sports philosopher. “Guys are no longer happy with their salaries. They make very, very good livings in sports, for sure, but they still want more. And many of them push the envelope in their efforts to make more money.”
Perhaps this explains why Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick allegedly got involved in dogfighting. The thought of dogs fighting till they die makes most of us gag, I’m sure, but there are sickies out there who get some sort of strange pleasure from it and pay to see it and even wager on it.
Perhaps this explains why NBA ref Tim Donaghy is at the centre of an FBI investigation and is being accused of making calls designed to appeal to mobsters. The word is that he bet heavily and then allegedly agreed to get out of his gambling debts by making calls to affect point spreads.
Donaghy and Vick are in serious trouble. So is professional sports.
• Scoring in the CFL isn’t increasing.
After averaging 53.8 points a game in 2005, teams combined for an average of 46.6 points a game last season. This season, after 16 games, the average number of points per game is 46.25.
• Don’t be surprised if the Blue Jays’ next shortstop is Jack Wilson, who is in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ doghouse ... The Jays are entertaining offers for third baseman Troy Glaus even though they can’t send him anywhere unless he agrees to waive his no-trade clause ... The New York Mets and Detroit Tigers are desperate for a closer and are both talking to the Washington Nationals about Chad Cordero.