Thoughts Around the Sports World for Saturday

College football returns a week from today!

Can you believe that one week from today we will be watching real, meaningful football? Don’t get me wrong, I actually enjoy the National Football League’s preseason for no other reason than, it’s football!! Yesterday, I looked at some of the top match-ups for the opening weekend so feel free to re-visit that if you’d like.

With so much going on, I just have the usual Saturday feeling where I need to cover a lot of different stuff so here goes…

I’m giving myself an overdue amount of props today because I’ve been out front on the issue of NFL defenders going low on ball carriers. It’s becoming an epidemic and is in reaction to the league fining and suspending players from going at the head. This morning, CBS News was among a number of media outlets reporting on the issue of guys suffering season-ending injuries to their knees and legs.

What this tells me is that Roger Goodell is up a creek without a paddle. Or is he? For those that believe Goodell is on a mission to pretty much turn the game into ‘flag football’ this is yet another reason that supports that.

I have no use for apologies from guys like Braun who are sorry they got caught.

Ryan Braun’s apology and admission of PED use this week was yet another example of a trend in baseball cheating that has gone on for years. Braun, who is serving his 65 game suspension currently, admitted and apologized for using performance enhancing drugs. In doing so the question must be asked, was he apologizing for using PEDs, was apologizing for lying about using them or was he apologizing because he got caught?

The answer is the latter. Much like Mark McGwire and Alex Rodriguez, these guys don’t apologize because they cheated, they apologize because they were caught. It sends a horrible message to other players and especially to young people and not just about PED use. Kids today and even adults (see politicians) will only offer apologies when they have no other choice. The evidence is mounted so high against them that they don’t have any other choice but to come clean and apologize.

Braun was doing the exact same thing and shame on his teammates for being so accepting of his admission and apology. I’m not sure about all the players in the Milwaukee clubhouse, but I guarantee at least one guy wasn’t impressed with Braun and that’s the guy who Braun started in front of every day.

Ryan Dempster did what a lot of pitchers and other players for that matter wanted to do to Alex Rodriguez when he beaned him last weekend. A-Rod has not only brought shame to the Yankees, but to good, honest baseball players throughout Major League Baseball. Dempster and MLB eventually got it wrong though.

MLB suspended Dempster for five games. This is as asinine as the fact that they fined him $2,500 as well. Chances are, Dempster has that lying in the ashtray of his vehicle. Furthermore, what does suspending him for five games really mean if he doesn’t miss a start, which he won’t? Bud Selig doesn’t have a clue any more than Roger Goodell does.

Dempster could have played this thing much better as well. Asked after the game if he was throwing at A-Rod, he said, “No, I was trying to pitch him inside.” Once the suspension was handed down, Dempster said that he decided not to appeal because it would be more beneficial to the team for him to serve the suspension now. I get that, but if he didn’t do anything wrong as he claimed then why not appeal?

MLB and the players’ union has created this problem themselves by allowing players to keep playing while appealing suspensions. Again, I see the reasoning behind that but in cases like this one it might not be such a great idea.