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Sports personalities say the darndest things ...


Straight talk is a rare commodity these days

Good grief, it’s something of a wonder that anything worthwhile at all ever gets done in this country in light of the fact that we spend so much time and energy pretending that the difficulties we face are something different than what they really are.

The examples are boundless, and across every facet of modern life, but sports and politics, two of our favored topics du jour, often seem like the most egregious offenders when it comes its favorite denizens peeing on your leg and telling you it’s raining.

Thus does Corey Pavin, the captain of the 2010 U.S. Ryder Cup Team, get cornered into making all kinds of absurd parsings when asked about Tiger Woods making the cut for the squad.

Come on. We’re all more or less grown-ups here. If Tiger Woods wants to be on the Ryder Cup Team and is reasonably healthy, he’s going to be on the team. That’s just the way it is, but of course, Corey Pavin can’t say that, or at least not in that concise fashion.

Instead we force him to mouth all the obligatory platitudes, or worse yet, get him involved with Jim Gray in an unseemly “He said” vs. “Oh, no I didn’t” wrangle about Tiger’s fate.

Meanwhile, we all sit around reading this drivel while knowing perfectly well that the No. 1 golfer in the world will be on that team if there’s any way on God’s green Earth to ensure that it comes to pass.

Elsewhere in the goofy and even more wildly disingenuous world of collegiate sports in general and big-time Division I football in particular, a radio personality in Fayettville, Ark., gets fired for wearing a Florida Gators cap to a Arkansas Hogs news conference. Really?

Despite all my apparent cynicism, I am still naive enough to hope that by the time this snippet gets into my Sports Collectors Digest column, some teeny weenie sense of perspective will have returned to Fayetteville and this gal will be back on the job.

The Arkansas coach, Bobby Petrino, had commented on Renee Gork’s headwear after she asked a question at the news conference. “And that will be the last question that I answer with that hat on.”

The young lady in question (a Florida grad) had, according to the Associated Press, grabbed the Florida cap without thinking “because it was raining outside.” She also reportedly sent a letter of apology to the university and Petrino.

Yet apparently the wounds from last year's loss to Florida are still too raw and way too deep. And she gets fired from her job. This, presumably, would have been enough to make Danny Thomas spit out his morning coffee. I am not a big fan of too many major college football coaches, in part because I have some understanding of the grotesque ethical compromises they routinely must suffer through at that level, but I have a kind of active contempt for someone who would have a role in getting someone fired from their job for such silliness.

More than 40 years ago I had a great friend in the Navy who was an Arkansas Razorback fanatic so intense that you would insist on not shortening the word to “fan.”

And I’m certain that former Radioman Third Class Melvin Burns, USN, wouldn’t approve of this bit of goofy theatre.

Having a feral pig as a school mascot is no excuse for boorish behavior.

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