Since there is no blowaway, got to talk about it story going on in sports right now, I thought I would touch on a number of different items today.
ITEM: Notre Dame could be in serious trouble again. This story could become a very important one if people at Notre Dame don’t come up with a very good explanation for what The Chicago Tribune reported on Sunday. According to the Tribune, a freshman at St. Mary’s College (an all girls school across the street from Notre Dame) committed suicide on September 10th—10 days after filing a complaint with the Notre Dame campus police that she had been sexually assaulted by a Notre Dame football player.
Obviously there is no tangible way to connect her death to the alleged assault. She had a history of depression issues prior to enrolling at St. Mary’s and none of us will ever know what led her to take her own life. But what The Tribune is reporting is extremely damning: That the Notre Dame police didn’t contact the St. Joseph’s County police department (which conducted the investigation of the suicide) to let it know that the victim had filed a sexual assault complaint 10 days before her death. The Tribune also said that the campus police department had refused a request for documents from its investigation, claiming it was not subject to Indiana sunshine laws that affect public police departments. It also refused to allow football coach Brian Kelly, athletic director Jack Swarbrick or anyone in the administration to comment AND the player—who The Tribune says it has contacted and also received no response from—is still playing.
Wow. Maybe there is an explanation but right now no one at Notre Dame is supplying one because the school is busy stonewalling. If you add this to the awful way Notre Dame handled Declan Sullivan’s death a few weeks ago with Swarbrick speaking in so much non-committal legalese that the school president, The Reverend John L. Jenkins, FINALLY had to send out an e-mail saying, yes, we let the young man down and didn’t protect him, this looks very bad for Notre Dame.
This is so serious I’m not going to even get into some of the ridiculous things Kelly said after the win over Army on Saturday night (calling the loss to Navy ‘an anomaly,’ among other things). Let’s hope Father Jenkins steps forward soon to explain exactly what happened. Until then, everyone’s job—including his—can be and should be in jeopardy.
ITEM: Tiger Woods unveils another ‘new,’ Tiger Woods. This is for those of you disappointed because it has been a while since I’ve criticized Woods. Honestly, I find this completely un-interesting. It is clearly just another image-rehab attempt by Woods and his sycophants to try to win back corporate money and fans—the fans being important because their support leads to corporate money. It is no coincidence that the latest blitz comes a couple of weeks prior to Woods’ 18-man exhibition event in California which he hasn’t played in for two years. (First year injury; second year, um, injury so to speak). He’s trying to keep his sponsor on board after two disastrous years and unveiling the latest version of his new self all at once.
Do I believe Woods when he says he’s learned the joys of giving his son a bath in the last year? Maybe. But if it is so joyful and SO important to him why was he in Australia chasing appearance money a couple of weeks ago when he could have been playing a couple of miles from his house at Disney? Why is he going to Dubai early next year to chase more appearance money?
This is more of the same stuff we heard in February at The Tiger and Pony show; more of what he heard in the tightly controlled TV interviews in March and more of what we heard at The Augusta press conference in April. Here’s when I’ll start to think Woods has changed at all: when he stops chasing appearance fees all over the world; when he changes his schedule to support some of the events on his home tour that are struggling just because it is the right thing to do; when he tells PGA Tour officials he wants for them to arrange for him to sign autographs for at least 30 minutes (ala his good friend Phil Mickelson who does it most days for 45) after every round he plays; when he stops playing all his pro-am rounds at 6:30 in the morning so that more people—many of whom only have Wednesday tickets—can get a chance to watch him play.
Enough with the mea culpas. We’ve heard them all. Enough with being a new Tiger. DO something tangible. How about being interviewed by someone who won’t throw you one softball after another like the ESPN morning pitchmen?
I’m available. When I get that phone call THEN I’ll believe you’ve changed.
ITEM: Donovan McNabb has somehow figured out the Redskins two-minute offense. Wow, must be great coaching. Now, if he can just get into cardiovascular shape…
ITEM: Craig James, the lead pony (get it) among the ESPN BCS-apologists said this on Sunday night: “I know Boise State beat Fresno State 51-0 on Friday night but that’s what I expected. Fresno doesn’t have any really impressive wins on its resume.”
Really? Does Fresno have any other 51-0 losses on its resume? What was the Oregon-Cal score again? My God when does this garbage stop?
ITEM: Since the birth of my daughter—now almost one month ago—The New York Islanders have not won ONE game. That’s zero—13 straight losses during which they have picked up two points for overtime losses. They HAVE fired a coach during that period and banned a blogger.
Seriously. Chris Botta, who was once the Islanders PR guy, writes a very informative blog (yes, I read it) called Islanders Point Blank. Chris is hardly a killer. He has pointed out that a team that hasn’t won a playoff series since 1993 and has finished 26th-30th and 26th in the overall standings the last three years is, um, not all that good. He did point out what every sane Islanders fan (I know, all 14 of us) was thinking last summer when the team fired Billy Jaffe as its TV color guy apparently for being too negative: Billy Jaffe was anything but negative: he was honest but always looking for silver linings on the rare occasions when they appeared.
He was also very good. As opposed to Butch Goring, who was a GREAT Islander but is an awful color commentator. If the Islanders are down 6-1 and they get a shot on goal, Butch will tell you the Islanders are showing great life. I have no doubt he’s a great guy and the trade Bill Torrey made to bring him to New York in 1980 changed the history of the franchise. But he’s brutal.
Apparently general manager Garth Snow can’t stand ANY criticism at all. He stopped talking to Botta a year ago and the day after he fired Scott Gordon as coach and Botta pointed out that Gordon probably wasn’t the one responsible for the current state of the franchise, Botta was told his credentials were being lifted. Are you kidding? They ought to make Botta the GM, spend some money to hire people to work in the front office and make me the coach.
I mean could they be any worse if they did that? Jane awaits a win…
And Finally: On the subject of banned bloggers, the Miami Heat last week banned a very talented writer named Scott Raab who works for Esquire and blogs on their website. Raab had really gone after LeBron James, very profanely at times, and The Heat said he couldn’t come to games or practices anymore. Rabb, understandably upset, said (among other things): “If my name was Feinstein or Halberstam this would not happen.”
My name in the same sentence with David Halberstam in any way, shape or form? I love Scott Raab.