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The USA women’s soccer team never lacks for punch with incorrigible Hope Solo in goal

06/21/2015

The United States women’s soccer team is back on the pitch Monday night and is hoping it will have enough punch to defeat Colombia and move one step closer to reaching the World Cup final on July 5.

Oh yeah, Hope Solo is on the squad. Clearly, the Americans definitely have enough PUNCH.

Solo might be a star goalkeeper but she is also a controversial figure after a domestic assault incident with two relatives last summer. The details in the police report make her sound like the female Floyd Mayweather and let’s just say that is no compliment.

There’s something about repeatedly smashing your 17-year-old nephew’s head into the concrete floor that doesn’t sit right. Obviously, it was a bad draw to land a strong soccer player as an aunt.

Solo tried to paint herself as the victim on a national television morning show but ESPN’s investigative team unearthed details of the way she acted in jail, and that marked the end of any sympathy points. A male athlete who acted that unsavory would be scorched in the media.

Hmmm, maybe Solo was suffering from roid rage. Any media outlets investigating that angle?

At least we know the USA women will win the postgame boxing match.

The story was close to flying under the radar for much of 2015 — just as the U.S. soccer federation was hoping — until ESPN timed its report for the beginning of the World Cup.

That put the lack of action against Solo and the lackluster investigation into the spotlight. Little hard to sweep it under the rug now despite coach Jill Ellis acting like it is something that happened decades ago.

Ellis, of course, needs Solo on the squad as she otherwise has no chance at coaching the Americans to a World Cup title. Apparently, Hope Solo is the only woman in this entire country who knows how to play goalie.

And now Ellis doesn’t want to deal with the situation and the players get stuck in the middle. They are sick of being asked questions about Solo but the goalie hasn’t faced the media in two weeks.

This isn’t going away ladies. Just because some of you wear dresses in your free time doesn’t make it acceptable for one of your teammates — a woman — to beat the tar out of two people.

Remember how everyone ripped the NFL for not penalizing Ray Rice severely enough before finally getting it right? Women’s soccer has gone the opposite route.

The organization figured it could do nothing because people don’t pay attention to the sport most of the time. They were gambling that it eventually would go away. The out of sight, out of mind phenomenon.

Unfortunately for them, the women’s World Cup is one of the few times we do care about soccer and that put the lack of punishment into the spotlight.

Too bad there isn’t a video of Solo pounding her nephew’s head into the ground floating around the Internet. That would change things real quick.

Solo apparently isn’t done with spin control. She recently had People Magazine over to her house and the publication printed a story over the weekend with Solo once again playing the victim.

“It’s been painful,” she said to the publication. “I almost lost my career. It’s been traumatic and embarrassing.”

Well, she should be embarrassed. Her own actions put herself in this situation and she deserves all the derisive comments people make on social-media sites.

Look, the women’s national team has had a number of solid role models over the years, ranging from the great Mia Hamm and Julie Foudy to current member Alex Morgan. Young girls look up to these women because they seldom see women professional athletes on television.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t any bad eggs mixed it. Look no further than Solo, who might not be Tonya Harding bad but she’s up there when we talk about unsavory female athletes.

And if the Americans need Solo’s “punch” to win, that’s pretty shameful. Perhaps it would be fitting if Solo makes a rare mistake and the United States loses on Monday.

I’m sure not flying solo when it comes to that opinion.

Boise State loses athletic director Coyle to Syracuse but does it really qualify as a loss?

06/19/2015

Boise State will spend the summer searching for a new athletic director.

Syracuse University announced Friday night that it has decided on Broncos’ athletic director Mark Coyle to be the person who cleans up the big mess the Orange athletic department has become.

“I recognize that Syracuse University student-athletes, coaches, athletic staff and fans are among the best in the country,” Coyle said in Syracuse’s press release. “I am eager to work beside them and look forward to becoming a part of Orange Nation.”

Nice jump in pay for Coyle, who has been working very hard at putting Boise in his rear-view mirror. He recently was a finalist for the Pittsburgh athletic director position and then hotly pursued the Syracuse gig.

Coyle gets to inherit the messy situation involving basketball coach Jim Boeheim, who has a tarnished reputation after having 108 victories vacated due to academic and drug-testing violations dating back to 2001. The football program also vacated 11 wins due to its own infractions.

Good luck with this Syracuse as nobody really knows whether or not Coyle can manage such complicated high-pressure situations. Actually, all Coyle really did at Boise State was keep things from declining.

He had the easiest coaching search in recent college football memory when Chris Petersen left for Washington. Hometown boy Bryan Harsin — a former Boise State player and assistant coach — wanted to return home after one season as Arkansas State’s coach and all Coyle had to do was make sure he didn’t mess up the hire.

Basketball coach Leon Rice was already in place and Coyle arrived in town during the 2011-12 season just as Rice was in position to get things going. The two recent NCAA tournament berths are a credit to what Rice built, not to anything Coyle has done.

A big downside for Syracuse is that Coyle packed no presence in Boise. People don’t know him, people never see him, and people don’t have an emotional pull with him like they did with former athletic director Gene Bleymaier.

He is going to have to be much more visible in Syracuse, where they follow the men’s basketball program like it’s an NBA team. That means standing up in front of the cameras regularly and being accountable.

Coyle begins his new duties on July 6. Boise State marked Coyle’s first time running an athletic department and I expect school president Bob Kustra to hire another first-time athletic director.

That means a hire that comes cheaper and is easier for the university prez to control.

I don’t think I will be proven wrong with that assertion.

Padres can’t help but do very stupid things — firing Bud Black after overhaul joins the list

06/15/2015

After all those years of squeezing wins out of San Diego Padres teams with little talent, the 2015 season had a chance to be manager Bud Black’s time to shine.

Perhaps having a few players who can actually play would lead to more wins. Perhaps managing some postseason games was finally on the horizon. Perhaps people around the country would get a chance to see why Black has such a good reputation despite being stuck with a poor organization all these years.

Perhaps the Padres would forget they are the Padres and wouldn’t do something stupid.

Too late now — the stupid has been done.

Black was fired on Monday with the Padres sitting a game below .500. Kind of a poorly timed move considering the offseason overhaul that netted starting pitcher James Shields, closer Craig Kimbrel, outfielders Justin Upton, Matt Kemp and Wil Myers, catcher Derek Norris and third baseman Will Middlebrooks.

The plethora of new faces requires a bit of an adjustment period so possessing a 32-33 mark with 97 games remaining isn’t exactly an awful managerial performance. And who knew that Matt Kemp (two homers in 64 games) was really Carlos Quentin in disguise and will never again be the player who hit 39 homers and drove in 126 runs in 2011.

Good job getting the manager fired, Matt. Don’t be surprised if Black searches out Clayton Richard and sends him to the ballpark with a message — Google search near-fight between Kemp and Richard in 2013 if you need details.

Black was in his ninth season with the Padres and was the 2010 National League Manager of the Year. He wasn’t hired by new general manager A.J. Preller so there is no loyalty there and an organization always looks for scapegoats when a team is believed to be underachieving.

The Padres appointed bench coach Dave Roberts to be interim manager and are undergoing a search for a full-time manager. Triple-A manager Pat Murphy is among the candidates and perhaps a long-time manager such as Ron Gardenhire would be a good fit.

Preller came from the Rangers organization so let’s hope he has forgotten how to get a hold of former Texas manager Ron Washington.

There is still too much weirdness stemming over Washington’s sudden mysterious resignation from the Rangers late last season. He went into hiding for two weeks and emerged briefly to say he cheated on his wife.

Since people inside baseball cheat on their wives all the times, it is whatever Washington didn’t reveal publicly that is even more important. He needs to keep attending those marriage counseling sessions and allow more time for his image to be restored before he’s filling out lineup cards again.

Since Black was fired with a losing record — what would have happened if the Padres had defeated the Dodgers in Sunday’s 12-inning game? — his tenure ends with him tied with Bruce Bochy for the most losing seasons (seven) in franchise history.

We all saw what happened with Bochy once he left the poorly run San Diego organization: He began accumulating World Series rings — three in the last five years with San Francisco — and is now being mentioned him as a possible Hall of Famer.

I see Black having a similar renaissance once he joins a better organization. We will someday see him managing in the postseason and perhaps he does win a World Series title.

I mean, who would have ever forecasted Ned Yost managing in Game 7 of the World Series? You would have been laughed at for suggesting that one but there was Yost and the Kansas City Royals sitting one win away last October.

And you can laugh a lot at the notion of the 2015 Padres crashing the World Series as well. The Preller experiment definitely needs more time to develop.

San Diego took a step backward by unceremoniously making Black the first scapegoat.

American Pharoah deserves extra bales of hay for ending the Triple Crown drought

06/06/2015

American Pharoah is now a legend and the impressive horse will be fed the biggest pail of oats and be served the most delicious bales of hay ever invented.

Trainer Bob Baffert can certainly afford to buy American Pharoah the best bales of hay around after the horse became the 12th Triple Crown winner in horse racing history on Saturday. Not since Affirmed in 1978 had one horse won the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness and Belmont Stakes.

You remember 1978 — that’s when stamps cost 13 cents and, gosh, did my mom think they were expensive. Dave Winfield still played for the San Diego Padres and thought he was underpaid. The Cars were taking over the rock music world with their debut album.

Let all that sink in … yeah, 1978 kind of seems like ages ago now.

And now 2015 is a memorable horse-racing year thanks to American Pharoah.

It was a standout race as jockey Victor Espinoza quickly moved American Pharoah to the front and led the entire way while posting a winning time of 2 minutes, 26.65 seconds.

American Pharoah breaks the jinx that had been picking up momentum over the last decade as short-sighted people began saying there would never be another Triple Crown winner. That’s kind of like saying the Chicago Cubs will never again reach the World Series.

Ohhhh. Yeah, bad comparison.

There had been eight attempts since 1997 with horses such as California Chrome (2014), Smarty Jones (2004) and Silver Charm (1997) among the disappointments. There were also major failures such as Big Brown (2008) and War Emblem (2002).

If horses have a memory, perhaps War Emblem was scarred by the eighth-place performance at the Belmont. Two of my brothers and I saw him at the Pacific Classic in Del Mar two months later and he was a nonfactor in that race as well and finished sixth.

Who knows where Silver Charm hangs out these days but we had a lot of fun picking on him in the sports department that no longer exists. Two of the dudes — or should I say gambling addicts who like horses more than people — were so crushed when Silver Charm failed to win the Triple Crown but the rest of us really enjoyed sticking the needle in.

You see, not every horse can be Secretariat — he’s the 1973 horse racing Triple Crown winner — but American Pharoah can take his place as one of the better horses in recent times.

American Pharoah won by 5 1/2 lengths over Frosted, which pales in comparison to Secretariat — even today, he could still win, show or place — and the famous dash in 1973.

Secretariat won by an unfathomable 31 lengths. Count ’em up — 31.

He eats bales of hay … Secretariat.

And now let’s serve up some extra bales for American Pharoah for ending the Triple Crown drought.

I personally went through some sacrifice as I watched 4 1/2 minutes of horse racing this year instead of my usual two.

And with the drought over, there goes the annual anticipation and hype the horse-racing folks create about the possibility of the first Triple Crown winner since the 1970s.

Now there is nothing to look forward to when the 2016 Kentucky Derby rolls around.

So I may be back to watching just two minutes of horse racing next year.

Thank you American Pharoah! Enjoy the extra oats and hay!

Stephen Curry has a spotless image, let’s hope he doesn’t turn into a buffoon or fraud

05/30/2015

Stephen Curry has emerged as a bona fide star over the past two seasons but now he has a chance to hit the megastar platform.

Being named regular-season MVP of the NBA boosted him up another level and now he is about to embark on the NBA Finals stage for the first time when the Golden State Warriors face the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Take down the Cavs and a guy named LeBron James and Curry’s stock – on and off the court – goes skyrocketing to a new stratosphere.

It’s a good stage to be on for sure and more and more people have caught on that one of the faces of the NBA is a 6-foot-3 guard who was once passed over by all the major colleges and ended up being a major star at tiny Davidson College.

Of course, the slaps in the face continued on the night of the NBA Draft when the Minnesota Timberwolves picked some guy named Jonny Flynn – don’t Google him, not in the league – over Curry. That act of stupidly explains perfectly while the Timberwolves are indeed the Timberwolves.

So it has been a charming story to see Curry drain 3-pointers from all areas of the court and evolve into one of the top players in the NBA. His wife and daughter receive plenty of TV time as do his parents – father Dell played 16 seasons in the NBA – and the endorsement opportunities are rolling in.

His image is spotless.

Uh oh, did I say spotless?

Here is where the worrying begins: Are we seeing the real Stephen Curry or will he become the next athlete to combust at some point?

Too many times, we have been fooled by an athlete that appears to be an outstanding person and then we learn of some shady acts or despicable behavior.

Who saw the Tiger Woods sex harem scandal coming? A married man totally crafting his family image and Tiger was stripped down – pun intended – and exposed (yeah, also intended) and funny how his golf game also went into decline as his personal life did.

Who can forget Kobe Bryant being accused of rape in 2003? It was stunning a big-time star like him would even be in such a position and it has forever stained his legacy. Bryant didn’t serve jail time but he did apologize for his actions and he also settled a civil suit with the accuser, which is the athletes’ way of buying out of the crime.

And whatever was more stunning than the O.J. Simpson murder case? His ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and friend Ron Goldman were slaughtered by one of the all-time greatest running backs in football history. (Sorry, not using the word allegedly since he didn’t back up his boast that he would look for the real killers). I will never forget the surreal scene of a guy going from being totally beloved to being viewed as a totally despised monster in a matter of days. The White Bronco – not you Peyton Manning — lives on.

We could talk about disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong for hours. He was always a jerk, always treated people rudely, lied through his teeth all the time about his juicing and really has no redeeming positive qualities. Think of that, he is such a rotten apple that he doesn’t even belong in a good athletes turn into buffoons discussion.

New faces pop on the scene each year. Ray Rice was hailed as a great guy in the community before he smacked his then-fiance in the elevator and dragged her out like a carcass of meat. And how about Adrian Peterson beating his young child with a switch? I shook hands with Peterson once and my hand was sore for two hours so I can’t even imagine somebody of his unbelievable strength brutally whipping their son like that.

So this is what we are asking of Curry – don’t turn into a buffoon someday. Don’t become a moron. Don’t be living a secret life where you are scoring out of wedlock and eventually one gets pregnant. Don’t punch anyone in your family. Don’t be a fraud.

Seems like easy stuff to achieve but too many athletes fail at it. Though I’m from San Diego and two of the biggest stars in the city’s sports history had no troubles being good citizens with impeccable reputations.

Guys named Tony Gwynn and LaDainian Tomlinson.

Curry is on the same path as those two legends and let’s see if he can keep it up. The image is spotless, his popularity is out-of-control high and he’s one of the top outside shooters the league has ever seen.

And now he has an NBA title to chase and we can all sit back and watch the Curry vs. LeBron show. Should be an entertaining NBA Finals.

And let’s hope we are still talking about this Stephen Curry being a real good guy a decade from now.

As a kid, you never knew what you’d bring home after going to a major-league ballpark

05/03/2015

MLB.bat

One of the major-league bats Mr. Sports scored when he was a kid hanging out at the ballpark all the time.

Bats, balls, hats — being a kid in a large city sure was a lot of fun. And you could get into the stadium real cheap, not like today when a kid has to drain his bank account to go to one game.

Maybe this fall, I will chronicle the story of scoring a jersey from an NFL Pro Bowl player in exchange for a 25-cent RC can. True story.

Top 10 for the top sports Saturday of the year: Clippers edge boxing, Derby and draft

05/02/2015

What a crazy Saturday full of sports and if you left your house even once today, you kind of fail at life.

If you missed all the sporting events, you are likely one of the following: Incarcerated, marching the streets of Baltimore or wasting your day on a used-car lot.

Suddenly, playing for the Cleveland Browns doesn’t sound so bad. Well, if you can figure out how not to live in Cleveland while cashing their checks.

Before the big fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao even hit the pay-per-view airwaves at $99.95 plus tax per purchase – you mean people don’t understand you can find FREE online streams for these fights? – we got to view an outstanding Game 7 between the San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Clippers. And it was on FREE TV and it was outright amazing.

Clippers point guard Chris Paul was hobbling on a sore hamstring he injured earlier in the game and sidestepped Danny Green’s defense and avoided Tim Duncan’s attempt to swat it aside to bank in the decisive shot with one second left to give Los Angeles a 111-109 victory. Good bye defending champions. See you next year.

The unexpected thing was that the basketball game was much more exciting than the big boxing bout. Mayweather improved to 48-0 in his career with a unanimous 12-round decision but it was hardly an entertaining tussle and nothing like its billing as “Fight of the Century.”

There was no knockout for Mayweather. He apparently saves those for the women he hits.

Who can forget that American Pharoah became the luckiest horse of the year by winning the Kentucky Derby. Since horses don’t spend money, American Pharoah gets all the bales of hay he wants forever and will never have to worry about sitting hungry in a barn again.

Good food if you can get it. Well, for a horse. Just ask Secretariat.

“He eats bales of hay, Sec-re-tar-i-at.” (Use tune of Toto’s “Rosanna” for full effect).

The NFL Draft finished up but nobody was even chatting about that by dark. Not with all the other good stuff going on.

Oh yeah, the New York Yankees tried to spoil our day of fun by saying they won’t pay Alex Rodriguez his $6 million bonus for catching Willie Mays on the all-time homer list with his 660th blast. It’s hard to ever be on Rodriguez’s side on anything but you know, it is in the contract and it wasn’t written in that it is voided if you cheat.

Wow, so weird to commiserate for A-Rod the fraud.

OK, on to the top 10 list:

10. The Kansas City Royals played a baseball game without getting in a fight. They must have missed the word that Saturday was “Fight Night.” In fact, the Royals were so punchless that they scored just one run while losing to the Detroit Tigers

9. The New York Rangers defeated the Washington Capitals 3-2 to even their playoff series at one game apiece. I have no idea if this was a big accomplishment or not because it is the NHL but I also know I need to mention it or else my inbox will be filled with hockey fans calling me names over the omission.

8. The NFL Draft is lucky to crack the list as the once-anticipated Saturday has been rendered a complete waste of time due to the league’s switch to a three-day event. When the best thing you have to talk about is whether Blake Petty or Brett Hundley will go first in the fourth round, you know there is no further reason to watch.

7. The big Twitter outburst that CNN’s Rachel Nichols and ESPN’s Michelle Beadle had credentials pulled for the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight because they said mean things about Mayweather’s history of domestic abuse. I understand why Mayweather and his handlers don’t like Nichols (see interview here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a21U_fXjGTA) but Beadle is one of those harmless fools who hosts some kind of lowly fluff show on ESPN. She’s just happy to get some pub. Oh yeah, Mayweather’s camp denies there were any games played with the credentials. Um, OK.

6. Shortly after American Pharoah won the Kentucky Derby, @NBCNews tweeted BREAKING: American Pharoah wins 141st Kentucky Derby. Good thing I wasn’t drinking a mint julep as I would have dropped it upon seeing the response from a Bo Pelini parody account: “That has to be a record.”

5. The bugle at the Kentucky Derby. As soon as that familiar race-day jingle is played, I know my yearly output of two minutes of horse racing is near. Love that bugle.

4. Jose Altuve and the Houston Astros are the talk of baseball. Wait, the HOUSTON ASTROS are the talk of baseball? This is indeed a Saturday Sports Day for the ages. Altuve hit a three-run homer – he came up short in his bid for his 10th consecutive multihit game – and the formerly woeful Astros have won nine straight games and 13 of their last 14. Call them the first-place Astros. Wow.

3. Quite a performance at the Kentucky Derby for American Pharoah and, gosh, do we wish the horse could talk so we wouldn’t have to hear owner Bob Baffert drone on and on about nothing of substance. Jockey Victor Espinoza rode the horse way wide as they hit the stretch and the finishing kick was stellar to win the Run for the Roses.

2. Special thanks to the Website known as vipleague for the free boxing stream as there was no way the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight was worth $100. I knew that before the fight – duh – and it became even more obvious during it. So much hype means so much dollars for all involved. But the actual action didn’t live up to the hype and I can’t believe how upset people must be for forking over that much cash.

1. NBA playoff basketball is about 100 times more exciting and intense than the regular season and the epic contest between the Clippers and Spurs once against proved it. And how badly does San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich want to beat up – Mayweather style – the shot-clock operator at the Staples Center for messing up the team’s last-second play?

Chatter about Rivers unfounded; Gordon final first-round pick of San Diego era

04/30/2015

All that bluster about Philip Rivers being dealt to the Tennessee Titans turned out to be unfounded chatter.

Turns out it was allegedly started by a writer at UT San Diego – which is typically the first sign there is little validity to a report.

When you aren’t properly aligned with inside sources – and the general manager doesn’t trust you – you tend to swing and miss more often than Mike Trout in the playoffs.

The San Diego Chargers never intended to trade their productive quarterback for the No. 2 overall pick and the chance to draft Marcus Mariota. The Titans didn’t deal the pick at all and went ahead and selected Mariota.

The Chargers are on their way to Los Angeles and they really need to have a solid season before moving to the land of smog. San Diego has failed to make the playoffs in four of the past five seasons – a pitiful fact when you consider the talent the franchise has had – and relocating after a losing season wouldn’t help prompt the fickle Los Angeles area to rejoice over the team’s arrival.

So Rivers is badly needed to be at the helm and not a novice rookie that may or may not be prepared to start in the NFL. The tough part will be convincing Rivers to sign a contract extension but there is something about making $20 million a year that causes one to do something they might not originally be thrilled about.

Don’t think so? Offer me $200,000 a year and you’ll be surprised at the places I’m suddenly ready to call home.

That includes Arkansas and North Dakota … yikes, did I just type that?

Anyway, the Chargers kept their quarterback and moved up to No. 15 overall to select running back Melvin Gordon, the standout from Wisconsin.

The pick is solid – and will forever be known as the final first-round pick by the “San Diego Chargers” – but I don’t understand why the Chargers dealt two future draft picks to the San Francisco 49ers to move up two spots. Sounds like there was some fear the 49ers might trade the pick elsewhere and another team would land Gordon.

Regardless, Gordon should be a much better NFL player than the departed Ryan Mathews and also is a much better option than journeyman Donald Brown. Gordon averaged 7.8 yards per carry in his college career and rushed for a then-record 408 yards in one game last season against Nebraska, breaking a mark set by LaDainian Tomlinson.

You might recall Tomlinson. The Chargers haven’t had a bona fide back since the future Hall of Famer left town.

Gordon should solve that problem. There are questions about his receiving ability but let’s face it: The Badgers weren’t telling a guy averaging nearly eight yards per carry to go run flare routes. You hand the ball off to a guy like that.

There is a reason why the guy rushed for 2,587 yards and 29 touchdowns last season. He can play.

He should be a force over the next six to eight years. Of course, the question will soon become where he plays those games.

For now, he goes into the books as the final first-round pick of the San Diego Chargers. And quite a good one at that.

 

Winston Shepard is returning to San Diego State cuz he doesn’t want to live in Belgium

04/23/2015

Winston Shepard is smarter than any of us knew.

Yep, he realized that it would be better to live in San Diego next season than Belgium.

The San Diego State forward has decided to return for his senior season of college basketball and it is one of those decisions that prompt one of the following reactions:

–Duh. He’s nowhere close to being ready to play in the NBA.

–Duh. When you can’t even crack the mock drafts, you have no business applying for the NBA Draft.

–And duh. He probably found Belgium on the world map and had one of those ‘What was I about to do?’ moments.

Shepard did the right thing in returning for several reasons and you can imagine what NBA talent evaluators say in the safety of their own offices. (Hey, let’s go back to those dashes and duh comments since they were so fun).

–This Shepard kid doesn’t have a good enough outside shot to play for us. Duh, we’re not drafting him.

–This Shepard kid doesn’t have a good enough inside game to play for us. Duh, we’re not drafting him.

–This Shepard kid doesn’t have a good enough mid-range game to play for us. Duh, we’re not drafting him.

–This Shepard kid can’t handle the ball good enough to play for us. Duh, we’re not drafting him.

–This Shepard kid does a lot of silly things at the worst time possible. Duh, we’re not drafting him.

Who will ever forget the 2014 NCAA tournament when Shepard did one of those silly things. It wasn’t Brandon Heath bad (see 2006 NCAA meltdown against Indiana) but it changed the complexion of the game.

The Aztecs trailed Arizona by three points with less than three minutes to play in a Sweet 16 matchup when Shepard decided to become a ball-handler in a one-possession game. He turned the ball over, the Wildcats cashed it in for two points and dominated the rest of the contest to end San Diego State’s season.

That play defines Shepard’s career at the moment as he has never elevated his game over his first three seasons with the Aztecs.

He arrived as a self-proclaimed one-and-done player who felt the NBA was his destiny. But something about a 9.6 career scoring average over three seasons helps a college player learn that he’s not the star player he thinks he is.

Had to hurt Shepard’s ego a bit to see that freshman teammate Malik Pope (who has yet to even prove himself as a college player) is more coveted by NBA scouts. There’s also the current-day knock that a player only reaches his senior season if he isn’t good enough to play in the NBA.

Right now, that is Shepard’s reality. He isn’t good enough to play in the NBA and needs to make a lot of improvement over the next 12 months.

But the really, really good thing is he recognized it and didn’t make the bad decision that dozens of college players make each season.

And because of that, Shepard can postpone living in Belgium. Well, for at least one year.

Sports Disgrace: Elitist Britt McHenry fills the bill after brutal verbal attack on woman

04/17/2015

We haven’t done a Sports Disgrace post in a while and apparently Britt McHenry has been aiming to get her chance to be profiled.

Who is Britt McHenry, you ask? Good question, I had never heard of her until just recently and she happens to be one of those 20-something blonde gals that somehow lands a job with ESPN despite very little experience.

And you thought ESPN looks for established pros with a long history of stellar journalism. Yeah, right.

Experience aside, we know now all about McHenry and there is nothing pretty about the girl on the inside.

Mocking a (possibly) minimum-wage tow truck yard worker with elitist rhetoric and making fun of her weight is well below the standard of somebody worthy of working for ESPN. I knew what was coming from reading about it and I still cringed when I saw McHenry spewing some of her garbage on the video tape (see it here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5JesKdZJ2Y).

You know you have lost when you have to resort to “I’m on television and you’re in a f–king trailer, honey” and “lose some weight baby girl.” Kind of like when NFL bust Ryan Leaf yelled “I can buy your dad” after being kicked out of a college party.

McHenry is her demeaning best when she ridicules the woman’s education – “Do you feel good about your job? So I could be a college dropout and do the same thing? Why – cause I have a brain and you don’t? Maybe if I was missing some teeth, they would hire me, huh?”

If you’re throwing out that you’re on TV to a woman working at a tow lot, you rank pretty low on the classy meter. Save that entitlement for when you’re trying to impress yourself in front of the mirror.

The rest of the stuff is just beyond embarrassing. Not that it matters Britt, but you don’t seem as pretty in the tow lot video as when ESPN covers your face with makeup that must take hours to squeegee off.

ESPN suspended McHenry for a week and she tweeted out a apology that seemed about 50 percent apologetic. Not the least bit surprised – deep inside she probably doesn’t get why her behavior was so wrong.

I’d be willing to bet McHenry acts different when she has to interview an athlete. That I’m on TV stuff act doesn’t impress too many athletes or coaches.

Hopefully McHenry learns a lesson from the whole ordeal. But now she can cross off one of those goals from her list – she made it on MrSportsBlog!

Because she’s the latest Sports Disgrace. Congrats, Britt!

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