Why is it that when ever I have an off week from doing this column, something absolutely ridiculous happens? I’m looking at you J.R. Smith. Honestly, I have a thousand questions about that incident from the 1st of March. What did Damon Jones do? Where did it hit him? More importantly, what kind of soup was it? Was it the whole bowl or did J.R. just free hand some lobster bisque? The list goes on and on. And so must we.
The Worst Thing I’ve Seen In A Long Time
Let me preface this by saying fighting does not belong in basketball. As much fun as we’ve had this year with players getting in each other’s faces and being petty, we’ve never approached Malice at the Palace levels of fighting, and for good reason. That is, by far, the worst thing that has ever happened in the NBA and ranks among the worst in all of organized sport. I would also like to say that we here at The Turf do not condone violence. Now, having said all that, had I been a teammate, parent, friend, or fan of Hanover High School Basketball in Kansas this past weekend, nothing would’ve stopped me from running onto the court and letting fists fly. Here’s why:
😡 Here’s another angle of that dirty play that has pissed off the basketball world!
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) March 11, 2018
That is a blatant shove in the back to a player already airborne followed by absolutely zero remorse. That should be an automatic ejection and quite possibly, the end of that kids basketball career. Not only did he not get tossed from this Kansas HS Championship semi-final, he played in his team’s 3rd place game. And on top of that, the executive director of Kansas High School Sports thinks that simply not starting was more than enough punishment. Look, in no world should this be acceptable behavior. Nor should it ever be met with a proverbial wrist slap. But when high school kids are involved? More has to be done and lessons need to be taught. Shame on you Kansas. Shame on you.
Not The Way To Get Paid
Speaking of shame, clearly Odell Beckham Jr. has none. There’s no other way to describe a man letting himself get filmed with a mystery woman in a hotel room holding what appears to be a blunt while she appears to be doing cocaine. And you know what? I’m fine with that entire sentence I just wrote up until the last 5 words. The NFL (and the rest of the world) needs to let go of the propaganda and hysteria surrounding cannabis and athletes using it. But there will never be a time when it’s okay for an athlete, or anyone for that matter, to be caught with anything harder than some ‘dro. And when you’re a athlete in one of the biggest markets in the world, who keeps demanding to be the highest paid WR in the NFL??? You must be high if you think that you can pull childish stunts like this AND still deservedly get paid. Make no mistake about it, from a purely on-field talent perspective, there is no one who could rightfully claim OBJ should be denied his money. But we don’t live and operate inside bubbles like that. And this is not the first incident involving the Giants’ star pass catcher. He needs to get his shit together, and quick.
This Received a Technical Foul
Dwyane Wade just got T'd up for … this. pic.twitter.com/uBWCjTxIqk
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) March 11, 2018
You read that right. D Wade got T’d up (and a $5,000 fine to boot) for poking the back of Kelly Oubre Jr.’s ear. To recap, pro athlete “boop-ing” another’s ear: $5,000 fine. Kansas high school kid nearly ending another kid’s career: nothing. Yup. Well done world.
March Madness 2018
For all we know, this may be the last year of the NCAA Tournament as we know it. The FBI is investigating the NCAA. The NBA and schools alike are bemoaning the “1 and Done Rule.” It’s a tumultuous time to say the least. And then, the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee decided to release the most confusing bracket I’ve seen in a long time. They claimed to not be punishing teams for being involved in the FBI probe, but that’s clearly a blatant lie. How else would you explain that the only team involved to make it into the Dance is Arizona, because by virtue of winning the Pac-12 Tourney they had to be in? And even then, to seed them as a 4 with Kentucky as the 5 seed they’ll most likely have to meet in the Round of 32? That’s absolutely asinine. There’s also no way to explain Oklahoma making it into the field while leaving Oklahoma State out if you aren’t taking into account scandal. And I’m not entirely sure what they have against their overall #1 team, but UVA has the hardest draw I’ve ever seen for a #1 to make the Final Four. Now, I won’t show you my bracket just yet, because I don’t want my fellow writer’s to see my picks just yet, but suffice it to say I have a certain team from the Mitten winning the whole damn ting. And I don’t mean that school in Ann Arbor. Of course, last time I picked them to win it all they got bounced in the 1st round. What I’m trying to say is that no one knows how this is all going to play out. And that’s why it’s so great.
It’s The Sound
Speaking of college sports, have you ever noticed that practically no one seems to pay any attention to college baseball? I think the Little League World Series has a bigger following than NCAA Baseball. And I have a theory as to why. It’s not because of stuff like this:
— Foul Pole Sports (@FoulPoleSports) March 10, 2018
No it’s because of stuff like this:
Here is how it all ended… One of the wildest games you will ever see pic.twitter.com/5e9p6qQluC
— Virginia Baseball (@UVABaseball) March 1, 2018
But Andrew, you might be saying, what’s wrong with that? That looks as exciting as MLB Baseball. Well you’re right, it does look exciting. But the sound at the very beginning of the video of a baseball pinging off a metal bat ruins the entire experience. One of the biggest draws of the sport is “the crack of the bat.” It’s a visceral emotion tied to an auditory experience. College baseball doesn’t have that. And because of it, no one will ever care about NCAA Baseball in the same way they do about NCAA Football or NCAA Basketball. Yes, those sports have differences too. But you can’t see the difference in distance between the hash marks for football, or really tell how much closer the 3-point line is in basketball. College baseball loudly announces the advantage its student athletes have with every hit and foul ball.
NFL Free Agency
Oh man, where to start. There has been a bunch of NFL Free Agency news, and it’s all gone down before players can officially start signing. Some quick hits:
- The Browns will actually look like a team with talent. In fact, they’ll look like the most talented 5-11 team you’ve ever seen.
- Richard Sherman will be wearing a 49er’s jersey. It won’t look right.
- Kirk Cousins will have the most expensive (per year) contract for a QB from the Viking’s. And it’ll be guaranteed money, which is huge.
- Jimmy Graham will be a Packer but Jordy Nelson won’t be. I have nothing to add to this.
- Sam Bradford will be a Cardinal, Teddy Bridgewater will be a Jet and Case Keenum will be a Bronco. The Viking’s go from 3 starting QB’s to 1. Jury’s still out.
- Malcolm Butler will be in Tennessee and Danny Amendola will likely be a Dolphin. Pats fans will be sad. I will be happy at their sadness.
The Greatest Thing I Have Seen In A Long Time
LeBron getting fancy with the no-look. pic.twitter.com/EGE9ELxmjK
— ESPN (@espn) March 12, 2018
Just watch this as many times as I have and try not to smile. You can’t do it. It’s still the King’s world and the rest of us are lucky to get to watch.