Clearing my mind and notebook while waiting to hear more details about ESPN broadcaster Ryen Russillo’s drunken, naked adventure in Wyoming:

Bend the knee

Colin Kaepernick probably couldn’t get an invitation to compete on “Dancing with the Stars” at the moment. That’s how much of a lightning rod for controversy the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback has become.

All because he chose to take a knee during the national anthem last season in protest of social and racial injustices.

 Whether or not that’s the entire reason he hasn’t had an offer from another NFL team, Kaepernick remains a free agent with the start of the 2017 season just weeks away. You’d think a veteran quarterback who has passed for more than 12,000 yards and 72 touchdowns, and who led the 49ers to a Super Bowl, would be viewed in a more positive light.

But during a recent interview with ThePostGame.com, even football hall of famer Jim Brown weighed in by suggesting that Kaepernick was wrong to trample on pregame patriotism in order to make his point.

“Colin has to make up his mind whether he’s truly an activist or he’s a football player,” said Brown. “Football is commercial. You have owners. You have fans. And you want to honor that if you’re making that kind of money … If I sign for money, then the people I sign with, they have rules and regulations.”

That’s all true. But we should also note that Brown made much worse decisions during his career as an athlete and actor by abusing women, including his wife, and for using his fists to settle arguments with friends and strangers.

All of which, by the way, still can be accepted behavior with some NFL teams.

At least Kaepernick’s fight is with institutional racism, which is an issue that isn’t going away any time soon, especially after what we’ve observed since the Charlottesville, Virginia protests over a damn statue to a Civil War general.

Speaking of high horses, I’m sure NFL owners and coaches will climb down from theirs the moment they are in need of an emergency backup QB because of injuries.

After all, NFL owners are quite fond of quarterbacks who are experienced at “bending the knee” in victory formation.

More fake news

If some web pages had been quicker to credit satire site TheOnion.com for a story about the alleged shooting death of a WWE wrestler, there would have been much less outrage expressed on social media last week.

But when TheOnion.com story about the supposed death of Paul “Big Show” Wright began circulating under other web banners, the world became momentarily unhinged. Fans of Big Show began mourning his death and calling for the WWE to be sued for not providing enough security in Indianapolis.

Wright is a huge man, standing 7-foot and weighing nearly 400 pounds, and he’s known to have a temper. So, as the story goes, he became enraged after a 7-year-old boy managed to get on the mat before a steel-cage match.

But don’t despair. It’s all fake news about a mostly fake sport. Big Show is alive and well. As for me, I’m going to make it a point to never get in his way, so I can live a long and prosperous life, too.

 Headlines

SportsPickle.com: “Conor McGregor feeling confident after watching several boxing instructional videos on YouTube.”

Fark.com: “ESPN’s removal of (announcer) Robert Lee from the UVA game, which led to a barrage of negative coverage, was done to avoid negative media coverage.”

TheKicker.com: “Miami builds huge door to hit Jeffrey Loria’s butt on the way out.”

TheOnion.com: “NASCAR adds gravel warning track to alert drivers of wall.”

Fark.com: “Baltimore Ravens sign former 49ers quarterback not named Colin Kaepernick.”

SportsPickle.com: “LeBron demands trade to Celtics: ‘You’ll never be rid of me, Kyrie.’”

 

Outnumbered

Indiana will have 18 returning starters and the homefield advantage when the Hoosiers open the college football season against Big Ten favorite Ohio State on Aug. 31.

At least those are two factors for IU fans to embrace as Tom Allen begins his first full season as a head coach in college.

But will that be enough considering IU is facing the Buckeyes next Thursday in a game that will be televised by ESPN. After all, Ohio State has  former IU head coach Kevin Wilson as its offensive coordinator, 15 returning starters and a preseason AP ranking of No. 2.

And then there’s this tidbit about Urban Meyer’s Big Ten favorites: they’ll have nine team captains. Yep, nine. That’s a lot of leadership.

The Buckeye captains will be quarterback J.T. Barrett, H-back Parris Campbell, defensive ends Jalyn Holmes, Tyquan Lewis and Sam Hubbard, wide receiver Terry McLaurin, offensive lineman Billy Price, linebacker Chris Worley and defensive tackle Tracy Sprinke.

IU’s Allen prefers to name game captains each week and has tabbed four  for the opener against Ohio State: quarterback Richard Lagow, offensive lineman Wes Martin, linebacker Tegray Scales and defensive lineman Greg Gooch.

 Polling place

Last week I revealed my consensus college football poll, which starts with the major preseason magazine polls but is always subject to further number-crunching  when there is a need to break ties. Plus, it’s my poll, so I reserve the right to move teams up or down a notch or two or four.

For instance, if I feel strongly that a team isn’t really top 10 material, they won’t make it even if they are ranked among the elite teams in all the other polls.

There wasn’t much of that this year, though. It explains why my top four teams were identical to the top four in the Associated Press, USA Today and Street & Smith’s rankings.

However, I will note that the AP writers and USA coaches polls just came out Monday, so they had no influence on my choices last week.

The AP Top 25 writers’ poll: 1. Alabama; 2. Ohio State; 3. Florida State; 4. Southern Cal; 5. Clemson; 6. Penn State; 7. Oklahoma; 8. Washington; 9. Washington; 10. Oklahoma State; 11. Michigan; 12. Auburn; 13. LSU; 14. Stanford; 15. Georgia; 16. Louisville; 17. Florida; 18. Miami; 19. South Florida; 20. Kansas State; 21. Virginia Tech; 22. West Virginia; 23. Texas; 24. Washington State; 25. Tennessee.

The USA Today Coaches poll: 1. Alabama; 2. Ohio State; 3. Florida State; 4. Southern Cal; 5. Clemson; 6. Penn State; 7. Washington; 8. Oklahoma; 9. Michigan; 10. Wisconsin; 11. Oklahoma State; 12. LSU; 13. Auburn; 14. Stanford; 15. Georgia; 16. Florida; 17. Louisville; 18. Miami; 19. Kansas State; 20. West Virginia; 21. South Florida; 22. Virginia Tech; 23. Texas; 24. Tennessee; 25. Utah.

 They said it

R.J. Currie of SportsDeke.com: “American Andy Roddick is going into the tennis hall of fame despite being a winner in only one major event. Two, if you include marriage to SI cover girl Brooklyn Decker.”

Janice Hough of LeftCoastSportsBabe.com: “Manu Ginobili signed $5 mill deal with Spurs. Of course, San Antonio saves some money since Manu’s health costs covered by Medicare.”

Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “Yankee slugger Aaron Judge broke the major league record by striking out in 33 straight games. That’s what he gets for changing his breakfast menu from Wheaties to Special K.”

Brad Dickson of the Omaha (Neb.) World-Herald on Usain Bolt losing his final 100-meter race: “Was he racing a shark?”

Colin Cowherd of Fox Sports on QB Jay Cutler’s short-lived retirement from football: “I thought the 14 minutes I worked with Jay Cutler, he grew tremendously as a broadcaster.”

Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench on his diminishing golf skills at 69: “I can hear my ball land now, and that’s a real problem.”

 Triple crown

Now that Kyrie Irving has been traded by Cleveland to Boston, the Bleacher Report has interviewed several NBA executives who believe it‘s the final signal indicating that LeBron James is ready to shed his Cavaliers gear, too.

The conventional wisdom is that James is determined to win NBA titles with three teams and also begin his push for a second career in entertainment, which are opportunities he can achieve with the Los Angeles Lakers. He could also possibly buy his way into the ownership group in L.A. with Magic Johnson’s approval.

But the main draw for James is reportedly the idea of winning championships with three teams, something that has been accomplished only by John Salley (Pistons, Bulls and Lakers) and Robert Horry (Rockets, Lakers and Spurs).

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