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August 1, 2012 8:30 AM

Column Awards of the Week (7/24-7/30)

By updating RealClearSports I read hundreds of articles every week but sometimes there are particular passages that need highlighting. And to make these passages more palatable I'm doing them in award form! The awards are completely random and will change weekly.

Column Awards for slide.jpgDon't argue with NBC. They know what you want. They've clearly proven that since dropping from the number one network when they had "Must See TV" over a decade ago to now fourth in total viewers.

"I think what we've proven is that the American viewing public likes the way we tell the story and wants to gather in front of the television with their friends and family -- even if they have the ability to watch it live either on television or digitally. I inherently trust that decision is the right one and that people want to see these events."

That's coming from NBC Sports Chairman Mark Lazarus. You've got to love this guy. He ignores the massive amount of angry tweets and vitriol across the web over the NBC's antiquated ways of covering the Games and says that he and NBC know best. They know what we want even if that's not what we say.

Unfortunately, the numbers seem to back him up. As of the opening weekend viewership was at an all-time high. It seems like NBC does know what it's doing. They know most people will still watch the races even if they know the results. They hear your complaints and they just don't care. You'll watch the Games in prime time and you'll like it!

Since I'm not a big fan of the Olympics in general I don't have a dog in this fight. But as a sports fan I can sympathize with those that are angry over the lack of showing events live. It's much more difficult than it used to be to not have the results spoiled for you and the drama ruined. But to be fair to NBC, these events are available live online.

Who I have no sympathy for are the people that were upset that the Opening Ceremonies weren't live nor were they available live online. To those people that were so upset over this decision I say, who cares? To paraphrase Iverson, 'We talkin 'bout the Opening Ceremonies? Opening Ceremonies? Not a game. The Opening Ceremonies.' Do you really need to see that live? Was it really ruined when you heard about Marry Poppins fighting Voldemort on Twitter? Were they spoiled when you heard about the fake Queen jumping from the airplane? If anything, not having them live could've saved you a few hours of your life. If you had followed the tweets maybe you would've avoided watching the whole program. On to the awards!

Who's More Pathetic?
I've mentioned numerous times about how Hakeem Olajuwon is willing to tutor just about anyone that asks him. He's even been willing to tutor those that don't as he recently reached out to Serge Ibaka. Now though, Amare Stoudemire wants to learn the Dream Shake and it will cost him a pretty penny: Stoudemire will spend two weeks with Hakeem Olajuwon in Houston next month. The cost of learning The Dream Shake? $50,000 a week is what we were told. Now, we don't know if Olajuwon is charging Stoudemire full price, but Amar'e plans to get bang for his buck. He said he plans to memorize every lesson so he can expand his game to include one or two go-to moves on the post.

Maybe I'm wrong in assuming that Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James got these lessons for free but there was never any mention of money exchanging hands when those stories came out. Now though, Stoudemire has to pay six figures? Maybe this was Olajuwon's plan all along. He gets the truly elite players and teaches them for free and then charges an exorbitant amount to the next tier of stars. Good for him. If you're Stoudemire though, isn't this a slap in the face? You're not good enough to get the free lesson? But good for him for willing to pony up that dough in an attempt to improve. Let's hope Olajuwon has some magic elixir to fix ailing knees.

Victims Come in Shades of Grey Too
David Steele of the Sporting News thinks it's disrespectful to call the Penn State football players victims: That's not the real problem here. In this context--that of children abused by the monster roaming the football facility for so long and by the grown-ups who gave him safe harbor--labeling those players and the ones who won't land at Penn State in the next few years as "victims" is downright obscene.
They're unfortunate collateral damage, yes. Disproportionately harmed, true. Calling them "innocent" isn't even out of line. But a football scholarship to a major revenue-producing program is still, until further notice, a privilege, not a right.
In the big picture, those players now fall into the same campus-wide group of students with great talent, high motivation, tremendous work ethic, promises from their school and, still, big obstacles to getting where they need to go.

You can call someone a victim without having them on the same pain as other victims. By calling them victims you aren't implying that they suffered as much as those children that were abused. The players have been unjustly punished and thus they are victims. Sure, they're going to be fine and it's not exactly a traumatizing experience, but these players had dreams of playing for bowl games and national titles when they committed to Penn State and those dreams are now destroyed.

They are definitely not comparable to the general student population. It would only be comparable if a student's program's funding was cut severely and that student could no longer compete in some sort of end of the year competition.

Takedown of the Week
Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports absolutely shredded Marlins management after their recent fire sale. Here's just a sample of what he wrote: Here is how the con worked. ... To allay fears, they changed their name to the Miami Marlins, their colors to a rainbow vomiting, their image to reflect the city, hot enough that the New Yorker would profile them and Showtime would broadcast a documentary on them and free agents Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle and Heath Bell would take the money. People actually bought into the thing, recognized them as a real team and not just some affiliate run by a couple of swindlers who had already screwed Montreal and were primed to do the same to another city.

And it continues like that through the entire article. It's a fun read if you're into that type of bashing.

More Outrage Over NFL Drunk Driving
It's an easy column to write. Every offseason a few NFL players get popped for a DUI and columnists express their outrage over how stupid the players are and how they should be suspended forever. The latest is Gregg Doyel of CBS Sports: This year, 14 NFL players have been arrested on DUI-related charges.
Fourteen. Since January.
Not one of those 14 players killed someone, which is a damn miracle. ... And this isn't a laughing matter. Drunk drivers kill people, and by "people" I mean people like you and me. Every day, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, 28 people are killed by a drunk driver in this country. Two years ago, 17 million people admitted to driving drunk. If those people formed their own state, it would be the fifth-biggest state in America.
Where's Goodell? I'm asking him to turn a DUI conviction into an automatic suspension -- make it two games, not one -- whether the CBA allows it or not.

It's not a miracle that someone hasn't been killed. I don't mean to make light of drunk-driving but Doyel is going to the other extreme and assuming 10 people die every time someone drives drunk. In 2011, a fatality occurred in .7% of DUIs. So it's not exactly a miracle that an NFL player didn't kill someone while driving under the influence this offseason. He also goes at length to mention that Goodell doesn't have the power to suspend players but wants him to do it anyways? Like Goodell needs the players to hate him even more than they already do.

A Little Premature
Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times was quick to jump off the Phelps' bandwagon and hop right in with Lochte: The torch wasn't exactly passed. The torch was fumbled and dropped and floating alongside the thrashing Michael Phelps before Ryan Lochte cradled it in his giant grip and sprinted to the wall.
Lochte became the best swimmer in the United States on Saturday night, but it didn't happen the way it was supposed to happen. He didn't steal the title in a dramatic duel with one of the greatest of Olympians. He casually picked it off the weary flotsam of a shrugging hero who seems less interested and more confused with every lap.

This all made sense at the time. Phelps swam a poor race and Lochte was unbelievable. But then the very next night, Lochte blew a huge lead in the 4x100 and cost the United States the gold medal while Phelps did his part and extended the lead.

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