From the Pacific Northwest to Down Under, The Friday Sports Dump will traverse the world to give you the good, the bad and the deflated.
Before we get to the nefarious substances infiltrating the beautiful world of sports, let’s talk about “Deflate-Gate!”
The Colts lost 45-7! Thank you for your time.
Sports Dump 1: Before Seattle pulled off one of the greatest come from behind victories in the history of sports, the NFL decided it was incapable of letting us enjoy two championship games without controversy.
Somehow news leaked to the league that Seahawks Running Back Marshawn Lynch planned on wearing $1,000 gold shoes. As you know the NFL is very strict on their uniform policy. In the past they have fined Chicago Bears Wide Receiver Brandon Marshall $10,500 for wearing green shoes. Marshall was diagnosed in 2011 with Borderline Personality Disorder. The Pro Bowler wore the shoes for Mental Health Awareness Week. In 2002, Peyton Manning was threatened with a $25,000 fine if he wore black high top cleats in honor of Johnny Unitas who had recently died. Manning relented and did not honor the NFL legend.
The NFL did not threaten Lynch with money. The Pro Bowl running back has been consistently fined this season for not offering himself up to the media, which is required by the league. Instead the league threatened to suspend him for one game. For those of you scoring at home, that is one game less than Roger Goodell and company levied on Ray Rice for domestic violence. Lynch did not wear his golden shoes.
The Friday Sports Dump is not a here to bash the NFL. In fact, The Dump would much rather talk about the NFC Championship Game. It was a fantastic game that will be replayed for decades to come. The NFL just seems to be so clueless in its handlings of day-to-day operations that it makes it hard to ignore.
The NFL has one more week before the season finally comes to a merciless end. Please, tread lightly.
The confines of NFL stadiums can be scary places sometimes. The mixture of frigid temperatures, raging levels of testosterone and alcohol can lead to tragic stories that cloud what bring us to the stadiums in the first place. This is not one of them. During the NFC Championship Game, Tim McElravy and his 13-year-old son were rooting for the Green Bay Packers in a sea of hawks. The stunning loss brought Tim’s son to tears as the onslaught from neighboring Seahawks fans continued. PJ Ledorze, witnessing the despair amidst euphoria comforted the young Packer fan, literally giving him the shirt off his back.
“It was an emotional decision at the time, it was my last year’s Super Bowl jersey and Sherman is my favorite player,” Ledorze said of handing over the jersey. “You attach memories to that. As awesome as those memories are, that kid is never going to forget that moment and that means more to me than that jersey.”
Seattle Cornerback Richard Sherman caught wind of the selfless act and wrote on twitter that a “signed jersey [is] coming his way.”
Lost sometimes in the trees of sports is the forest. Thanks to Ledorze, the McElravys, and Sherman for putting into focus what truly makes sports great.
Sports Dump 2: Despite the efforts of Billie Jean King and Title IX, this week has given us all a stark reminder of the long road still in front of women in sports. Some of the best women in soccer dropped their lawsuit against FIFA for gender discrimination. That finalizes a Women’s World Cup with field turf, something never seen in the Men’s game. If that wasn’t enough, down under at the Australian Open, Australian presenter Ian Cohen sent us all back to the 50s. During his on-court interview, Cohen asked 7th-ranked Eugenie Bouchard to twirl. A noticeably uncomfortable Bouchard, obliged. Shock and awe on social media followed and rightful so.
Susan B. Anthony, Babe Didrikson and Kate Chopin are twirling in their graves.
It’s not all bleak in Melbourne. A story sure to get your heartstrings pulled comes from the men’s side of the draw. American Tim Smyczek, the 112th ranked player in the world was a game away from upsetting third ranked Rafael Nadal. With the Spaniard up 30-0, a spectator yelled out loudly during Nadal’s ball toss, the all-time great faulted. In one of the most extreme cases of sportsmanship I’ve ever heard, Smyczek called for a replay of the serve. Nadal would go on to win the match and send the American home.
“What he did at the end of the fifth was just amazing,” Nadal said. “He’s a gentleman.”
Smyczek, a Milwaukee native, showed amazing class and humility in response.
“It clearly bothered him. You know, I thought it was the right thing to do,” he said.
The right thing to do isn’t always the easiest thing to do. Smyczek showed the world on the grandest stage that sometimes you can win when losing.
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Photo Credit: Rob Griffith/AP Images