DMA 7-22 Sports

February 19, 2011 6:00 AM

Understanding Why Melo Wants New York

Now suddenly,during All-Star weekend, they are giving the kibosh to Melo over this trade/contract stuff.

You know, the great Carmelo Anthony being dissed and marginalized because he wants more control over his life.  

On one nationaMMelo.jpgl sports talk radio program Friday night, the host thought he was being cute and clever with the question for his listeners about whether other superstars would want to join Carmelo Anthony, whether for the New York Knicks, New Jersey Nets or some other place.

Ridiculously, the host asked whether Melo could attract elite future free agent point guards like Chris Paul and Deron Williams, asserting he did not think so, asserting Melo was not the type of player to lead a team to the promised land of an NBA championship.  

That has us scratching our heads here in Baltimore. This is Melo we're talking about -- one of the top 5 players in the game today with LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Dwayne Wade and Dwight Howard. It is Melo as a freshman in 2003 who won his Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim his one and only national championship in 35 seasons coaching the Orange.

For Melo, remember, the 33 points and 14 rebounds in the national semifinal game vs. Texas and the 20 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists in the national final against Kansas. No wonder Syracuse even has a Carmelo K. Anthony Basketball Center named for him.

Melo, we remind you, was just 18 then as a national champion. Who else has done that as a freshman in the leading role? Surely not Paul and Williams at Wake Forest and Illinois. No push down on them, but they ain't Melo.

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February 13, 2011 3:00 AM

Say What, LeBron? Shrink the NBA


Marching toward the NBA All-Star game Feb. 20, what better time than to give some credence -- or maybe examination is a better word -- to controversial comments LeBron James made some weeks ago.

In fact, The King might be on to something -- though it will never happen.

James commented about how much more competitive teams would be if the NBA were to "shrink" the league. Thinking about it, maybe he is right. Just watch some All-Star games past.

"It would be great for the league," James said then, comforted by a Miami Heat team with a Big 3 along with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh.

Of course, it will never happen.

Neither the NBA Players Association nor the league owners would go for it. Die-hard fans, too, still want their NBA teams win or lose. Lakers' Derek Fisher, president of the NBA Players Association, immediately took James to task, and James backed away from the comments saying they were taken out of context. Certainly, too much money to be made, and, fewer franchises mean fewer multimillion contracts for players.

But consider the way of the league in 2010-11. While we delight in anticipating the playoffs with the Heat, Lakers, Celtics, Spurs, Bulls, Magic and Hawks as the prime-time title players, 14 of the league's 30 teams are sitting below the .500 mark and three others are at barely above .500.

And just look at the sorry state of some of the franchises -- such as the knucklehead Washington Wizards these days, 0-25 in road games for the season, and the miserable 9-45 Cleveland Cavaliers, losers of 26 in a row before snapping the skein against the Clippers. The Nets, Raptors, Kings, and Timberwolves aren't faring much better.

So while he did backtrack, maybe LeBron James is on to something. In this column, we just can't let James off the hook so easily. We need to have some fun first.

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February 2, 2011 3:00 AM

For Modell, Road to HOF Untenable

Modell super.jpgFifteen modern-era NFL players and contributors will learn on Super Bowl Saturday whether they made the cut for enshrinement in the 2011 class of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Jerome Bettis, Marshall Faulk, Curtis Martin, Cris Carter, Tim Brown and Deion Sanders are among the headliners in the current class.

When the ballot of finalists was announced Jan. 9, it meant that the old man, Art Modell, would have no chance again. Modell, now 85 years old, made it to the semifinal round for induction for the first time since 2001, but merely has been an afterthought during the intervening years.

For Mr. Modell -- the former majority owner and current minority owner of the Baltimore Ravens and the man most responsible for the likes of Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Jonathan Ogden, Joe Flacco, Brian Billick, etc., by bringing pro football back to Baltimore -- enshrinement as a Pro Football immortal may never come or at least not until he is dead and gone.

You see they hate Art Modell -- in Cleveland especially where he uprooted that storied franchise, grabbed the almighty dollar and brought them to Baltimore in 1996. That seems to remain the main reason Modell was not among the HOF finalists again, though unforgiving critics are starting to take even deeper shots at his legacy.

Modell is so vilified in Cleveland that his hate-meter reading is even higher than the one for LeBron James.

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December 8, 2010 7:00 PM

Luke Scott, Tell Us How You Really Feel

Scott again.jpgSo, Luke Scott, tell us how you really feel.

Baltimore, in the few years he has played here for the Orioles, has loved DH Luke Scott. The cowboy mentality, the free spirit, the chisled profile.

But Luke Scott showed us he is a "wazoo" with his comments Tuesday at baseball's winter meetings in Orlando about the president of the United States.

Despite Oriole centerfielder Adam Jones tweeting that treammate Scott remains his boy, we root for Luke Scott no longer.

Barack Obama would never say it, but Luke Scott, simply, is another one of those who just can't get over the fact that in this marvelous country of ours we have gotten to the point where we can have a black president.

Yes, we're offended by Scott's remarks. How else are introspective black folks and others of good will supposed to take his comments?

Here is some of what Scott said that ticks us off: "Obama does not represent America. Nor does he represent anything what our forefathers stood for. This country is basically built on an attitude. It's a way of life. It's not because you're born here. It's not that you're supposed to take from those who have and give to those who haven't. That kills a country. It killed Russia."

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November 8, 2010 3:00 AM

Maryland Horse Racing -- Get Real

Lookin at Lucky wins preak.jpgWatching the spectacle over the weekend that was the Breeders' Cup at Churchill Downs in Louisville likely leaves many Marylanders chagrined over the seemingly moribund state of the Sport of Kngs here.

The big news out of Maryland last week was that citizens in one jurisdiction, Anne Arundel County, Maryland, decided by their vote that a potentially lucrative slots parlor be placed on the site of a popular regional mall rather than, as the horse industry wanted, at nearby Laurel Park Race Course.

Waking up in an apparent fog the day after the Nov. 2 election -- in which voters supported the ballot question with a 56 percent tally -- the president of the Maryland Jockey Club decried the result. The Maryland Jockey Club, which operates Laurel Park in Prince George's County, Maryland, and Baltimore's historic Pimlico Race Course, the home of the Preakness Stakes, put out the word for the umpteenth time that such a voters mandate would lead it to reduce racing operations in the state significantly, imperiling the more than 9,000 jobs and $600 million in revenue generated annually.

Over the slots vote, a venerable tradition of thoroughbred racing and breeding in Maryland would go down the drain, racing interests say. Specifically, the Maryland Jockey Club says it would need to eliminate live racing at Laurel Park and turn it into an off-track betting facility and then close a training center in nearby Bowie, Maryland. All that would be left in the state is a 40-day annual meet at Pimlico around Preakness time. Racing interests would have you believe that slots would have been the only way to save the industry.

We say bunk to such an argument.

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November 5, 2010 10:00 AM

Cowherd, Dude, It's Just the 'Dougie'

walldougie1010d.jpgESPN Radio guy Colin Cowherd deserves grief for calling out Washington rookie John Wall over Wall's rendition of "The Dougie" dance during introductions before the Wizards home opener Nov. 2 versus Philadelphia.

You might say that Colin Cowherd needs to get a life. Slamming the Rook, who turned 20 on Sept. 6, as another Iverson, Marbury or Stevie Francis because he charmed Wizards fans with the Dougie shows a gross lack of perspective about young athletes and maybe young people in general.

Actually, everybody's trying to learn to Dougie. It's all the rave.

You know, "Teach Me How to Dougie, Teach Me How to Dougie." School kids all over America are uttering those words at Friday night mixers. Everybody wants to know if you can Dougie. Like the "Bump" and "Hustle" fad dances in the 1970s or the "Macarena" during the middle 1990s, nothing decadent, just the Dougie.

You listen to Cowherd on the radio and you know his shtick is to fire up the legions. And normally you give him credit for doing the backgrounding necessary to draw patterns and conclusions about sports issues. But to lump Wall with malcontents in his third NBA game is much ill conceived.

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October 22, 2010 6:00 AM

NFL Good to Smack Down Nasty Hits


Way back in the day, when little boys were first learning about this game called football, you had three choices -- two-hand touch, flag (if you were lucky to have that equipment) and tackle.

It was football in its most raw form -- hardly Pop Warner and pads. This was the ball played in schoolyards, bumpy rec center fields or in the street. The rules were simple. You played touch when on narrow one-way streets where the parked cars were the sidelines. You played tackle on the grass or dirt. No shoulder pads, jerseys or helmets, just the ball.

So with the NFL this week cracking down on concussion-creating, helmet-to-helmet hits, with many of the league's top defensive players and hitters furious and complaining, you think back to that time when learning football and ask -- why don't they just play tackle.

You know, boy with the ball. Running around the end. You swoop in past your block. Bring him down at the waist or legs. No launching, just tackle.

We love football more than ever, but maybe this episode of all the violent hits on Sunday shows that the game should get back to its roots. You block and you tackle, the essence of football.

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September 6, 2010 12:00 PM

Troy Smith Gone, But No Goner

Smith4.jpgThe Baltimore Ravens cut perhaps their most popular player on Saturday in backup quarterback Troy Smith as NFL teams got down to their 53-man rosters going into the new season.

The move raised some eyebrows in the national sports media, but Baltimore football observers knew that Smith had been walking a tightrope for a roster spot with the Ravens, considered a prime 2011 Super Bowl contender. Smith quarterbacked the Ravens with second- and third-teamers in their preseason finale Thursday - a 27-21 loss in St. Louis to the Rams - and the game seemed to seal his fate.

Smith breezed into Charm City in 2007 as a former Ohio State quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner, and an infectious smile, easy manner and confident demeanor immediately put him in good stead with Baltimore fans, teammates and the media. He was just a fifth round pick in the 2007 NFL draft and the Ravens' bringing him to Baltimore was considered a steal.

Smith seemed to have the perfect public persona well suited for a blue-collar enclave like the great city of Baltimore. Even at 26 years old, too bad Smith wasn't running for mayor instead of third-string quarterback. Given that the city's last duly elected mayor was forced from office earlier this year over some alleged misdoings involving the almighty dollar, a young guy like Smith with seeming limitless leadership qualities might win in a landslide.

But Smith now is figuring out his next move as a pro football quarterback. Somebody figures to snap him up. You can do a lot worse than having Troy Smith on your football team.

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August 29, 2010 5:00 AM

Haynesworth PR Fix: Remember Roots


Washington Redskins defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth is having a string of bad weeks this summer.

What Big Al sorely needs is a PR makeover. Makes you wonder who is image-advising football's 100-millon-dollar man.

Haynesworth's roots are embedded in the fabric of the Deep South, something he shouldn't forget. That might be a good place to start if he wants to repair his image.

What makes the summer of 2010 so bad for Haynesworth is that DC is hardly a pro football town where they give short shrift to their gridiron heroes - like how Eagles fans bad-mouthed Donovan McNabb toward the end in Philadelphia or with the New York Giants where they will plunk you with snowballs for losing a game.

DC is all about national politics, government and tradition, and, as such, professional athletes, tend to fly under the radar amid side-room congressional deals, federal agency rulemakings, deep-pocketed K Street lobbying, and non-profits with their hands out seeking grant money. Even locker-room gun-meister himself, Gilbert Arenas of the NBA Wizards, suspended for most of the 2009-2010 season, still enjoys a largely favorable rep in DC.

Yet Haynesworth, widely acknowledged as one of the NFL's most dominant defensive players, has been in a crisis communications freefall. He has let himself get to the point where he is losing the stature that great players typically command.

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August 20, 2010 3:27 PM

Everybody Loves Rex, But Right On Dungy

rex3.jpgEverybody does love Rex.

But, thanks, Tony Dungy for calling the big guy out on the carpet.

We know about Rex Ryan in Baltimore-Washington. Many here still believe he actually should be coaching the Ravens, where he for 10 years was defensive coordinator/assistant head coach and respected by his players, instead of leading the New York Jets.

What you see with Rex is what you get: big-talk, bold, affable, bluster. A big man, of course, Rex is the lovable oaf in the classroom you avoid, only to find out he really is a good guy. Beyond appearances, the one thing you know too about Rex Ryan is that he is a smart guy who knows football - a seeming genius at football, actually.

Dungy, the former Super Bowl-winning Indianapolis Colts coach and now a NBC football analyst, called Ryan out for Ryan's indiscriminate use of the F-word during HBO's "Hard Knocks" program that provides inside access to the Jets training camp. Dungy went so far as to say he would never hire Ryan for his staff because of his over-the-top salty language. (In that first Hard Knocks edition, Ryan threw out some 10 f-bombs.) Dungy also alluded that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell should speak with Ryan about it.

Good for you, Tony Dungy -- probably the game's leading unofficial "ambassador" today along with retired coach and announcer John Madden.

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