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January 11, 2002

by Bill Hogan



It took exactly one week for me to break one of my New Year's resolutions. I tried. I mean I really tried to lay off sportswriters for a while. But they continue to make it impossible for me to ignore some of the drivel showing up in the sports pages.

We've all heard about the controversy surrounding Michael Strahan and Brett Favre. Favre let Strahan tackle him and break the single season sack record. No he didn't, yes he did, yada, yada, yada.


Some sportswriters even went as far as to say that the "setup" somehow compromised the integrity of the game. Yada, yada, yada.

Does anybody really care? Ask Mark Gastineau how much that record helped him while he was serving a prison sentence. The fact of the matter is, the sack record and a token will get Strahan on a New York City subway, that's about it.

I read an article on the subject at nypost.com written by sportswriter Wallace Matthews. He had his own opinion. He's entitled to it. I really had no problem with the article until he had to go and insult the fans while trying to make his point.

Arguing that the incident didn't compromise the integrity of the sport because the NFL doesn't have any integrity, Matthews states "If there is integrity in the NFL, then why does it outwardly condemn rowdy and lawless behavior by its players and fans while tacitly condoning it?"

Rowdy and lawless? We've been through this already.

And how'd the fans get in the middle of this argument anyway? It's kind of like kicking the dog because you're mad at your wife.

While I'm at it, why does he feel the need to toss in a word like "tacitly"? Why didn't he just say 'silently'? Is he writing this story for the New England Medical Journal? Did he just complete unit sixteen of Merriam-Webster's Vocabulary Builder and figure he may as well get some practical use out of the experience?

I may have even let that jab pass had he not gone on to say "So when ESPN or ABC or Fox shows football fans behaving like morons or players acting like jerks, it is with the OK of the National Football League".

Again with the "morons"? Like the dog hiding behind the couch, licking his wounds, during a domestic dispute, I have to ask 'what the heck did we sportsfans do to deserve this'?

Who does he think is reading his work? It reminds me of the time I wrote a scathing expose titled "All Lawyers Are Shysters" and submitted it to the American Bar Association Journal for publication.

He goes on to point out that the NFL has no integrity, in part, because it publishes weekly injury reports solely for the purpose of encouraging illegal gambling.

WHAT? Hasn't this guy ever been a fan? He says " who really cares if the Seahawks left guard is suffering from an inflamed pinky toe and might not play?"

Who really cares? Well, lets start with the obvious. Just about every Seattle faithful wants to know who's going to suit up on Sunday. Are we going with a second string guard this week? How will that impact Trent Dilfer's protection? How will it hurt Shaun Alexander's ability to run up the middle? These are things FANS want to know, whether they are betting on the game or not!

And did this guy ever hear of Fantasy Football? Almost every major sports portal on the Internet runs some kind of Fantasy Football League. How do you pick your team without knowing who's in and who's out?

He refers to Gamblers with the same distaste one might display when referring to a sex offender.

I live in a gaming community. Gaming is the main reason I don't pay state income tax. Gaming, like drinking a beer or listening to Dick Vitale, is a perfectly acceptable social activity when done in moderation.

This man went on for seven hundred and fifty words condemning the NFL, Women's College Basketball, Major League Baseball and the Olympics for their lack of integrity. (Not to mention his unsolicited pot shots at the sportsfan).

He shows such disdain (Vocabulary Builder - unit seven) for the conduct of every major sports organization, I can't help but wonder if he'd be better off in another line of work. It doesn't seem like sportswriting is a suitable milieu (Vocabulary Builder - unit eleven) for him.

Maybe something in the political arena. Where, after all, nobody will dispute that a severe lack of integrity exists.


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