Sports’ bad actors never had it better

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There’s an old gag about a convict on death row the night before his execution. By law, his last meal shall be anything he chooses. Asked by the warden to make his choice, the condemned responds, “What are you out of?”

That brings us to Timberwolves’ guard Malik Beasley, now a bona fide Florida State man in that this week he became a felon, sentenced to 120 days for threatening a family with a rifle from his home, which was lousy with illegal drugs.

No laughing matter, it quickly became one. Beasley was sentenced to return to the scene of his crimes. Instead of jail he’ll likely serve a 120-day home confinement — starting when his NBA season is over.

A Bob Newhart telephone skit might naturally follow:

“It says here you’ve been ordered to serve 120 days … What’s that, Mr. Beasley? But you’re busy? … Well, then, when can you start? … After the season is over? … What season is that, Mr. Beasley? … Oh, the NBA season. Good, I was hoping you didn’t say the hunting season.”

Along the same path, there has been a recent trend to count the number of black men currently hired to be the head coaches of NFL teams. While that number rises and falls, I’m more inclined to assess the character of the recent hires than their skin color.

Thus I stop at the new head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Urban Meyer. Despite his claims to being a religious man, one wonders if anyone would have ever heard of him if he wasn’t reliant on young criminals recruited to his football teams, first at the University of Florida then at Ohio St., both known to do whatever it takes.

Meyer’s teams, 2005 to 2018, totaled in excess of 40 arrests, from murder (Aaron Hernandez, then with the Patriots) to rape, to weapons, to kidnapping. He even indulged one of his assistant coaches, bringing him to Ohio St. despite evidence that he chronically assaulted his wife.

And thus it seems that Meyer owes much of his success to criminals. His collegiate employers paid him millions to recruit the young among them by dangling full scholarships in the bogus name of NCAA student-athletics. The Jaguars and NFL obviously were left impressed.

Back to the NBA, where this week Mavs’ attention-hungry owner Mark Cuban first announced that he’d given our national anthem the boot then rescinded his decision likely based on having acquiesced to the NBA and pressure in the form of bad reactions and economic threats — as if he suddenly lost his bold ability to think and act for himself.

In short, Cuban showed greater regard for his teams’ communist Chinese-stitched Nike logos than for our national anthem. And the timing of this episode made it strictly political.

Further, the NBA’s ensuing decision to go on record as mandating the national anthem prior to all games has a follow-the-money stench to it. Its blind embrace of Black Lives Matter, nice-sounding but radical, Marxist-adherent, hateful destructionists, last year cost the NBA what it most carefully waters and feeds — money, especially as reflected in TV ratings.

“So you say you’ll never again play the national anthem at your games, Mr. Cuban. Why is that? … Because it upsets people. … Then why not have them stand in the hallways until it’s completed? … Yes, good idea. You could have them gather near the concession and souvenir stands …”

Romo losing what makes him unique

I mostly like CBS’s Tony Romo, raspy voice, nonstop talk, and all. His streams of semi-consciousness make me laugh legitimate laughs, not the kind heard on NFL pregame shows.

Yet, as heard during the Super Bowl, he’s losing us to standard empty talk.

When Chiefs’ DB Tyrann Mathieu intercepted a deflected pass that floated directly into his arms — the INT was rubbed out by a penalty — Romo praised Mathieu’s superior “instincts” that allowed him to catch what was tough to drop.

When CBS focused female-first side judge/down-keeper Sarah Thomas, Romo said her inclusion is “inspirational.” Agreed.

But then he had to over-egg the pudding, adding, “She’s talented, too.” Unless that was just typical TV pandering, Romo actually studies and rates the side judges to determine those he thinks best? Nah.

Don’t care if CBS pays him $17 million or 17 Otto Graham crackers per year, we don’t need another say-anything vacant voice.

NBC may have bagged credibility

Years ago, Johnny Miller, NBC golf’s lead analyst would mock the odd swing of PGA rising star Jim Furyk. Then Furyk and Miller began to endorse the same brand of clubs. Suddenly, Miller saw only merit in Furyk’s swing, how, “He gets it back to square.”

For those who may think that broadcast journalism is not still trending extinct, we bring you late-round “coverage” of Sunday’s final round PGA coverage on NBC.

Out of nowhere, as if subtlety should be avoided, a close-up appeared — an all-alone shot of Rory McIlroy’s golf bag. It carried McIlroy’s name plus the large word “Peacock” and the logo of NBC’s new Peacock streaming service.

In other words, NBC is now in financial bed with one of the world’s most famous golfers. It doesn’t care if its coverage of McIlroy is now compromised or if McIlroy will inspire even one more Peacock customer. McIlroy is now an “NBC guy” to the exclusion of all other networks that cover golf.

Such, as a matter of credibility, once was assiduously avoided. Now? What’s credibility?

Marty Schottenheimer, the NFL head coach who died this week, once pointed to ESPN as a reason his Chiefs lost a Monday night game. He said that all the misconduct penalties his players drew seemed caused by their desire to appear on ESPN’s game highlights — a sustaining reality.

Naturally, Craig Carton and WFAN co-host “Promo Code Evan” Roberts enjoyed that Super Bowl streaker. Those starved-for-attention are kindred spirits.

So Justin Verlander was right. MLB can do whatever it pleases to the baseballs, to make checked swings fly over walls and now to try to keep more pitches inside the ballpark. Follow the money.

Whew! Despite the absence of amateurs in this week’s Pebble Beach Pro-Am due to COVID-19, Golf Channel continued to advertise their presence. Still, no celebs means CBS won’t have to wreck these telecasts by focusing on Bill Murray and the ensuing forced laughter in response to his long-played-out, never-funny, annoying antics.

Reader Bill Nuzzo: “Roger Goodell announced that he’ll allow NFL stadiums to become Covid vaccination sites. The bad news is that he flexed your 1 p.m. appointment to 8:30 p.m.”

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