A low point in sports

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By Jeremy Fuerte / Staff Writer

By Jeremy Fuerte / Staff Writer

This year in sports will forever be remembered as a bad one, one in which the retroactive groan of sports fans across the nation will be heard for years to come.

With Bountygate, the McCourt lawsuit, the Pacquiao-Bradley fight and the new fad of flopping in the NBA, is it any wonder why the year is one of the worst for sports in recent memory?

Let’s start with arguably the NFL’s new dirtiest team, the New Orleans Saints.

The Detroit Lions’ Ndamukong Suh may be considered one of the dirtiest active players in the NFL, but there haven’t been any reports of coach Jim Schwartz offering bounties on players heads, at least not yet anyway. 

Suh is dirty by choice, and even than his motivation isn’t a nice chunk of cash waiting for him when he heads to the locker room, he is driven purely by competition. His dirty plays are plays of grit.

The NFC can be defined as one of the toughest divisions in the NFL, after all the Lions do have the Packers and the Bears to deal with, and Suh’s hard hits are pure beauty even if his temper tantrums lack refinement.

What the Saints have done is akin to turning their players into mercenaries.

Is it any wonder that Kurt Warner is scared that his two sons’ dream of playing in the NFL one day?

After all, it was a hit by Bobby McCray that ended Warner’s career on the field, even if he says otherwise.  

One of the only few respectable things about the whole debacle is the response of the NFL to the bountygate.

Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended a handful of Saints personal, including coach Sean Payton, and the new Rams defensive coordinator Greg Williams.

Goodell sent a message to NFL teams everywhere. Leadership starts at the top. Payton got the strictest punishment even if he was not the one who initiated the program.

Perhaps Goodell should give Obama a lesson in leadership.

Leadership was lacking big time in the Saints locker room, but is there any excuse for the lack of leadership and sympathy on the diamond?

McCourt was holding the collective balls of the Los Angeles Dodgers for ransom, he was holding its staff and its players for ransom, he was holding the city for ransom.

If he squeezed any harder, the Dodgers’ balls may have disappeared forever.

What would Dodgers Stadium look like today if Matt Kemp and Andre Either weren’t wearing Dodgers blue?

Dodgers fans have only Magic Johnson to thank for saving their beloved team, and because their future is now secure the boys in blue are now leading the power rankings.

Thank you Magic Johnson, LA owes you one.

You know who else owes a huge debt of gratitude to the Gods of sports, or if you prefer the demigods of sports, officials?

That would be Timothy Bradley’s victory over Manny Pacquiao, a split decision that has conspiracy theorist riving with delight.

After all, how else can a boxer land nearly double the punches and still lose a “closely contested match,” it has to be conspiracy, and perhaps it was.

Pacquiao’s contract with Top Rank is due to expire soon and perhaps they were sending Pacquiao a message, we too can hold your balls until they turn blue.

They did do one thing for Pacquiao, they did what Bradley should have done, but failed to do, they gave Pacquiao a “lesson in boxing.”

That was Duane Ford’s comments on the match, and like any good henchman perhaps that was his way of doubling down on his bet.

No, Pacquiao learned a lesson all right, it was a lesson in boxing and in business.

Pacquiao, now the only way you are guaranteed to win is to knockout your opponent because the judges are no longer giving you the benefit of the doubt.

Pacquiao knew he won that fight, Bradley knew he lost that fight, anybody with half a brain watching the match knew who won that fight.

Perhaps the only hope for Top Rank is the new findings which recently came out.

Two of the judges were missing half their brains (no such findings have yet come out). Perhaps Ford should have instead said Bradley won the fight for “basketball reasons.”

Such support would have given evidence for the half a brain theory.

At least both Pacquiao and Bradley were good sports about it. Pacquiao didn’t blame Top Rank, he merely stated he’ll knockout Bradley in the rematch.

Unfortunately, most people don’t want a Pacquiao-Bradley rematch. They want to see a Pacquiao-Mayweather match.

As long as Top Rank owns Pacquio though, does anybody really believe that’s going to happen?

Good sportsmanship is something that is sadly missing in the NBA where flopping has become all the rage, and who’s the premier flopper of the NBA?

That would be Lebron James, at least it will be until the championship of 2013.

Who knows which flopper will carry their team through the playoffs then.

Ginobli may still have a shot, after all he is one of the premier floppers in the NBA. Fisher may have a shot at his seventh ring (assuming, of course, he wins one this season). 

It’s a practice that has ran so rampant in the past couple of years that the commissioner is trying to figure out how to deal with it.

It’s “Trickery; decrepit; designed to cause the game to be decided other than on its merits.” Those aren’t my words by the way, those are David Sterns words.

If Stern truly wants to cut down on flopping, he should take a play out of the NFL’s handbook, or lack of a rule anyway.

Don’t blow a whistle, throw the flag. Rather than call the play dead when a foul, or flop has occurred, let the play continue until the play clock stops, either through a made basket or the ball traveling out of bounds.

If it’s a foul, call it as such and give it to the player who has been fouled.

If it’s a flop, give the flopper a technical and hand the ball over to the would be fouler to shoot two free throws.

If the flopper’s team made the basket, negate it, and if the fouling team made the basket and the foul, and it truly was a foul, negate it. 

Add a replay referee on the sidelines whose job it is to look at the monitors and make such decisions.

This would be for the close calls, the fouls that could be a foul or could be a flop.

Not the obvious fouls such as Wade’s foul against Rajon
Rondo in Game 2 of the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals (which by the way wasn’t called), or Raja Bell’s clothesline beat down of Kobe Bryant in 2006.

Such fouls deserve to have the play called dead. After all, what’s worth than flopping like a fish out of water on the floor?

Flopping like a fish out of water on the floor and getting called on it.

Basketball needs to restore the sportsmanship in the game. It needs to restore some of the streets in its courts. 

What better way to do that than let the defense play good defense and to force the offense to respond with skill, not acting

That makes basketball, boxing, baseball and football with one of their worst years in recent memory.

Together they give a reason for sports fans to be disgruntled and say never again (although to the promoters delight, there will never be a “never again” which is forever kept).

Oh well, at least we all still have Lance Armstrong to look up to . . . to be determined.

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