Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Vick, Bonds, and Donaghy

Disclaimer: These are simply my views on all of these things. I am in no way an expert on all the details or circumstances surrounding these men. Do not take my words as the be all and end all. As has been pointed out in the past, often by me, I am a well practiced and experienced bull-shitter. So, take these comments with a grain of salt – in other words, lighten up and consider who’s writing this crap (namely, me).

Michael Vick
I have tried to avoid writing about this simply because so many other people have written on it and, I think, many people are starting to get tired of it. As I have been following this, however, there is one thing that I've noticed and cannot keep silent about. This is the fact that nearly all of the commentators I've heard have already tried and convicted Vick. The man has a right to defend himself in the court of law before we condemn him. A grand jury indictment simply means that a group of people have decided that there is enough evidence that they are willing to listen to case. It does not mean, however, that the prosecution has proved their case.

That having been said, however, I personally think that he was involved, but I will give him the benefit of doubt until the legal process has run its course. Now, I've never been a big fan of Michael Vick. I think he's been over-hyped and over-rated since he entered the NFL. Not that he's a bad player, but he certainly didn't reinvent either the game as a whole or the quarterback position – which many were expecting when he came in. And on top of that, he's always come off a little arrogant to me. Not as bad as, say, Randy Moss or Chris Carter, but arrogant nonetheless.

And just a brief aside, here. The very thought of dog-fighting is abhorrent to me. Yes, I know it takes place and that such "sports" have been going on for centuries; for example, in the Medieval period, it was not uncommon for "bear-baiting" to go on. This was where they would chain a bear to a stake and then release several dogs on it, while the crowd bet on whether the bear or dogs would survive, and how many dogs the bear would kill or maim before it was all over. Society as a whole, however, as evolved and progressed, and it's time that we get past such behavior. We also used to think it was okay to tell women they weren't smart enough to vote. Societal evolution is a good thing.

Barry Bonds
Much like Vick, Barry Bonds has been convicted in the public eye before anything has been proven in any sort of court. And much like Vick, I personally think Bonds used steroids, but I'll give him the benefit of doubt for now. As Bonds approaches Hank Aaron's homerun record, I find myself wondering how history will record the event. Will it be recorded as a triumph or will it be recorded as a cheater simply getting away with it? Or will it be something in between? I honestly don't know. My guess is that there will always been a little asterisk next to him and his record.

Regardless of how history records it, I will always have more respect for Aaron than I will for Bonds. Aaron broke Babe Ruth's record with dignity and poise, all the while receiving hate mail and death threats. I have to give him some real credit for being able maintain his pride and dignity through it all. Bonds on the other hand, seems to feel that he is entitled to the record. This just annoys me. Sports figures should not feel "entitled" to anything, much less a record. Honored, proud, or grateful? Okay. Humbled? Even better. But not entitled. Never entitled.

I also wonder how many more seasons Bonds will play after breaking the record. I must admit that I would not be entirely surprised if he only played one more season and then retired.

Tim Donaghy
Again, I must emphasize that he has not been tried or convicted of anything as of yet. But I must admit that things don't look real good for him. I just have to wonder if this guy really thought he would be able to get away with this kind of thing. Sports and sports betting are so heavily watched that you would think that he’d know he’d be caught eventually.

But while what Donaghy is accused of having done is bad, I have to admit that I have long wondered at some of the officiating in the NBA. I'm not a huge basketball fan – a bunch of tall sweaty guys running around slapping a little round ball isn't all that exciting to me. (Although, I must admit that I've gotten into it a little more since I moved to the Phoenix area and get to see the Suns play. The game is certainly more interesting when you're surrounded by hard-core fans at the local bar.) But even I've noticed that there seem be a rather high number of bizarre or strange calls, both called and uncalled. I mean, at least in the other major sports there's some kind of back up system in place. Replay in football and hockey, call checks in baseball, and ref conferences in all three. But you almost never see NBA refs getting together to talk about a call or going back and looking at video replay (or at least, not in my limited experience).

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