Clearing my mind and notebook while wondering how well O.J. Simpson will adjust to social media scrutiny:

Kiss and tell, part I

New University of Texas football coach Tom Herman has more than just a hands-on approach when it comes to dealing with players. In addition to shaking hands or giving hugs, Herman kisses his players on the cheek from time to time.

He said he’s done it since he was a position coach, including at Ohio State from 2012-14, and he expanded that affection to all the players when he got his first major college head coaching job at Houston in 2015.

“I think it’s weird that people think it’s weird, first of all,” Herman said during a recent appearance on ESPN. “I tell the recruits, ‘Hey, when you come to Texas I’m going to treat you like my own son.’ Newsflash: I kiss my sons.”

Using a gladiator analogy, he said his affectionate gestures are how he shows players his appreciation and respect.

“What we do is very parental and so for me to do it with our players, it doesn’t seem that foreign … A lot of them don’t have father figures or they have a father who is in and out and doesn’t show them a lot of affection, and that’s sad to me.”

Kiss and tell, part II

Sprinter Gil Roberts, who was on the United States’ 4×400 gold medal-winning relay team at the Rio Olympics, was facing a ban from competition because he failed a drug test in March.

But then he remembered he had been “romantic” with his girlfriend, Alex Salazar, just three hours before being tested. She had recently returned from India, where she was given the drug Moxyong for a sinus infection.

Bingo! The banned substance probenecid was in those capsules and Salazar testified she was taking the medication by breaking open the capsules and pouring the contents in her mouth.

That was a good enough explanation for the USADA, especially since she also said that she and Roberts “kissed frequently and passionately.”

Hockey nightmare

From Scott Radley of the Hamilton Spectator in Ontario) : “Five players from this year’s NHL draft that writers hope never score he winning goal on deadline because their names are guaranteed to require a spelling correction the next day: 1. Andrei Altybarmakyan, Chicago; 2. Eetu Makiniemi, Carolina; 3. D’Artagnan Joly, Calgary; 4. Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, Buffalo; 5. Jake Leschtshyn, Vegas.

They said it

Greg Cote of the Miami Herald on a sure sign that early July is a slow time for legitimate sports news: “Arguing whether Kevin Durant was really mad at that Peyton Manning joke on the ESPYs.”

Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: Bills defensive lineman Adolphus Washington was arrested Sunday for improperly carrying a concealed firearm outside the Splash Park water park in Sharonville, Ohio. Unfortunately for Washington, it wasn’t a squirt gun.”

Janice  Hough of “SF Giants are having a Game of Thrones night.  Giants fans would like offense to stop regularly having Night of the Living Dead nights.”

Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews, to the NFL Network, on collecting 8½ of his 72½ career sacks against ex-Bear Jay Cutler: “Hopefully the next in line in Chicago will be as equally willing to help me pad my stats.”

Mike Bianchi of the Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel, on reports the Cavaliers “lowballed” GM candidate Chauncey Billups: “If you ask me, $2 million a year to pick up LeBron’s dry-cleaning and make his coffee is more than a fair salary

Zombie glove

On Monday the Houston Astros held a mock funeral for Carlos Beltran’s glove, which hadn’t been used in a game for more than two months at that point. Catcher Brian McCann even wore a black robe to officiate the service.

“They’re just having fun with it,” said the 40-year-old Beltran, who has mainly been used as a designated hitter this season. “I don’t know if (the glove] is retired or not. I bring my glove every day to practice.”

Sure enough, two days later, Beltran’s glove was given a second life when he started in left field. He was called on to make three catches in a 4-1 win over the Seattle Mariners, including the first two put-outs of the game.

And yes, Beltran enjoyed Monday’s “funeral” as his glove was put in a shoe box and was placed on the ground between three headstones. He used his phone’s camera to record it all.

“I love it … They made me laugh,” he said.

While his bat isn’t as lively as it once was, it isn’t exactly dead. He’s had 12 home runs and 19 doubles this season for the Astros.


From “Area man lifetime o-for-6,000 on jump hooks.”

From “LaVar Ball finalizes 3-year, 3-son deal to date Kardashians.”

From Oxford (Miss.) Eagle on Hugh Freeze’s firing:  “ESCORTED OUT.”

From “Conservatives turn on Donald Trump Jr. upon learning he had a meeting with Colin Kaepernick.”

From “Chris Christie is so unpopular he was booed after catching a foul ball at a Mets game and giving it to a kid.”


Safety first

Dale Earnhardt Jr. unintentionally had his wife Amy dealing with fan outrage on social media after he told reporters she didn’t want him to race next February at Daytona.

Although Earnhardt is retiring after this season, he qualified for The Clash by winning the pole for the Daytona 500 this year. But he’s also agreed to let Amy have the final word on whether he’ll climb into a race car in 2018 and so far she’s against it.

Even Dale Jr. has acknowledged that Daytona Motor Speedway has a high-rate of racing mishaps, so it looks like the clash on the home front is over. In a Tuesday tweet, Amy wrote: “… My answer is simple. It’s not worth the risk of his health.”

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