A different view of sports

Clearing my mind and notebook while noting that we still have to wait another week to find out if Justify can win the Belmont Stakes and join the exclusive Triple Crown club:

Untypical owner

So, let’s get this straight. The Carolina Panthers were in the market for a new owner because their previous owner, Jerry Richardson, was an older white guy who was prone to making sexist and racist remarks to office employees.

Now they are owned by another white rich guy, not as old mind you, who has a history of making his own sexist remarks, including this comment about his wealth to a writer for New York Magazine. When pondering how to spend his money, the 60-year-old David Tepper said he could buy an island, a personal jet or “a 22-year-old.”

A Pittsburgh native, he previously owned a 5-percent share of the Steelers. He has a net worth that is around $11 billion dollars, which makes him the second richest owner of an NFL team behind Seattle’s Paul Allen.

Allen rarely gets into public spats and mostly stays out of the way as the NFL conducts its business. That won’t be Tepper’s style. He doesn’t often think before speaking and when he feels strongly about something he can be rather loud and forceful in expressing his opinions. He once kept a large set of brass testicles on his desk at Appaloosa Management.

“He’s not afraid to speak his mind. That’s for sure,” Steelers owner Art Rooney told the Washington Post’s Kent Babb.

Still, his purchase of the Panthers was approved unanimously by the other owners.

Tepper joined the billionaire club by 2003, cashing in on distressed companies such as Enron and WorldCom. In 2010 his company pocketed $7 billion on a single deal. According to Babb, prior to gaining attention of cable financial news shows, Tepper was known to verbally abuse employees and fling breast implants around the office.

“I’m just a regular upper-middle-class guy who happens to be a billionaire,” Tepper told New York Magazine.

He also said he has “a great appreciation for how stupid I am.”

Need proof. He sometimes lets his grudges get the better of him — at least financially. He once bought a beachfront mansion of a Goldman Sachs supervisor who had passed Tepper over for a promotion. Tepper paid $43.5 million for the home and had it demolished. He also once considered buying a restaurant so he could fire a waiter who had been rude to him, according to the Post story.

And when it comes to politics, he’s not afraid of President Trump, as NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell appears to be. After the recent flap over whether NFL players are disrespecting our flag and anthem by kneeling to protest criminal injustice, the players may have another owner on their side.

That’s not certain since Tepper hasn’t weighed in publically on the NFL’s new policy, that wasn’t negotiated with the player’s union. But he has made his feelings known about Trump, who has so far managed to spin the debate for his supporters, claiming the players are un-American if they don’t stand for the anthem.

Those are largely black players, we should note.

In 2016, he said of the then Republican nominee as someone who “masquerades as an angel of light, but he is the father of lies.” He’s also said Trump is a “demented, narcissistic and a scumbag.”

It should be an interesting, bumpy ride.

Best crossover

Former Atlanta Braves pitcher John Smoltz, an MLB Hall of Famer and current TV baseball analyst, has qualified for the U.S. Senior Open golf tournament at a qualifying tournament in Peachtree City, Georgia.

Smoltz, 51, won his spot by winning a three-man playoff at Planterra Ridge Golf Club. He shot a 69, and then earned his ticket on the third playoff hole.

The U.S. Senior Open Championship will begin June 29 at the Broadmoor-East Course in Colorado Springs.

Tweet of week

From the Vegas Golden Knights’ official account on May 19:

“On this day in Golden Knights history: Actually, not much happened. We didn’t have a team yet. Probably just had meetings.”

They said it

RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com: According to a new study, getting extra sleep on Sundays can help prevent premature death. Finally, some good news for Cleveland Browns fans.

Orioles Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson on whether he’s still capable of playing Gold Glove defense at third base at age 81: “I can still dive and catch ‘em, but I can’t get up.”

Mike Bianchi of Orlando Sentinel: “No (Steve) Clifford is not a sexy hire, but, let’s be honest, the Magic don’t exactly have a sexy job. As far as sexiness goes, the Magic job is Chris Christie.”

Omaha comedy writer Brad Dickson: “Sports gambling may soon be legal. Millions of Americans will abandon playing the Powerball Lottery to bet against the Cleveland Browns.”

Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “Cowboys offensive line coach Paul Alexander says he judges his players’ mental acumen by the way they pour ketchup out of a bottle. Our condiments to the coach.”

Janice Hough of LeftCoastSportsBabe: “Warriors do live a charmed life. In 1015, Kyrie Irving was injured in Game 1. In 2017, Kawhi Leonard was injured in Game 1. And in 2018, JR Smith WASN’T injured in Game 1.”

Omaha comedy writer Brad Dickson, again, after a Japanese kayaker was banned for eight year for spiking a rival’s drink: “I’m pretty sure that’s legal at the Tour de France.”

Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times, again: “Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm wound up in the ER after he got a fish hook stuck in his leg. Bulldog apologists immediately blamed it on his line.”

Currie of SportsDeke.com: “The U.S. Supreme Court legalized sports gambling across all states. This just in from Pete Rose: “It wasn’t cheating. I was ahead of my time.”

Norman Chad of the Washington Post on Twitter: “Jerry West dribbling should be replaced as the NBA logo by LeBron James with both arms extended questioning a non-call.”

Seahawks broadcaster Steve Raible on late Chuck Knox’s superstition of changing hotels if his team had lost there during previous seasons: “We stayed every place but the YWCA (in) Kansas City.”

Comedy writer Argus Hamilton: “The NFL has just slapped a 15-yard penalty on players who don’t watch Fox News in their hotel room.”

Janice Hough of LeftCoastSportsBabe.com, again: “Lakers indicating they won’t draft LiAngelo Ball. Gosh, wonder why they wouldn’t want a mediocre player who’s already been arrested for theft and would double the team’s fun with dad LaVar.”

Bolt denied

Usain Bolt, officially, won nine Olympic gold medals. But he’ll only be credited with eight by the International Olympic Committee after it stripped Jamaica’s 4×100 relay team in 2008 of its gold medal because of a failed drug test by Nesta Carter, who ran the first leg of the race.

But here’s the thing: Carter’s failed test came during retesting in 2016. Carter’s sample allegedly contained the banned substance methylhexaneamine, a stimulant.

Carter appealed but on Thursday, the IOC’s Court of Arbitration for Sports denied his challenge.

Bolt participated in the 100-meter, 200-meter and 4×100 relay in the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Olympics and won each of the events. It gave him a perfect gold medal record – nine for nine – until the CAS stripped Jamaica of its world record win in 2008.

Eight years, and one Olympic Games, after the fact.

The IOC now says Bolt wa 8 for 9 in his golden attempts.

Meanwhile, now that Bolt is retired from his career as a world class sprinter, he has turned his attention to soccer. He currently is training with Norwegian club, Stromsgodset, for a charity match he will participate later this month in Manchester, England. His end game is to  attract attention from a top European club.

The 6-foot-5 Bolt, 31, has already trained this year with Borussia Dortmund of Germany and Sundowns in South Africa.

“It’s something I really want to do and pursue,” Bolt said. “That’s why I’m really training to make sure when I get to this charity match, I’m at my best and focused. And hopefully everything will come together, a team will see what kind of talent I have.

“You never know, I might get picked up. We’ll see what happens.”

To the rescue

Deliah Cassidy was stuck. Traveling home to Arizona from London, she was about to board a connecting flight in Los Angeles when an American Airlines gate agent told her she needed to pay a $50 baggage fee for a carry-on.

The college student didn’t have the cash, and was maxed out on her credit cards. So she begged. And begged. And kept being told, “No.”

She was at wit’s end, and tearing up, when a stranger stepped forward to offer to pay the fee. She tried to decline, but he insisted. And then he boarded the flight.

When she boarded, she saw him sitting in first class, and stopped to give him a hug.

Cassidy, 22, tweeted about it during the flight even though she didn’t know who he was. She later learned from a flight attendant that the “her angel” was a professional football player.

An aspiring sports lawyer, she was able to identify him as Arizona Cardinals tight end Jermaine Gresham.

Once they landed in Phoenix, she approached Gresham again, told him she knew who he was and asked to take a selfie with him.

“He said, ‘If I was in that situation and I was gonna miss my flight, I would hope someone would do the same thing for me,’ she told People magazine. “I was stunned. I want everyone to recognize how amazing it was that this guy did this! He didn’t expect anything to come from this. He never told me his name. He did it anonymously. It was so honest and pure.”

Headlines

TheOnion.com: “Puma researcher has nagging feeling he left Usain Bolt running at office.”

SportsPickle.com: Second quarter layup pushes LeBron James past Michael Jordan as best player of all-time.”

TheOnion.com: “Supreme Court votes 7-2 to legalize all wordly vices.”

SportsPickle.com: “Kevin Durant silences all the critics who said he could never help a 73-9 team win a championship.”

Fark.com: “1-31 Browns to be on HBO’s ‘Hard Knocks.’ Seems appropriate.”

TheOnion.com: “Yankees fans pack stadium for ‘Asshole Heritage Night.’ ”

SportsPickle.com: “Roy Moore reminds voters that many of Alabama’s top recruits have also tried to have sex with teenage girls.”

 Signs of time

Top Five Snarky Signs from NFL fans from Tiebreaker.com:

Cleveland Browns: “Rebuilding since 1964.”

Green Bay Packers: “We’re going to the Super Bowl Pro Bowl! Go Pack Go!

Baltimore Ravens: “Don’t strike, where else can I get 6 beers 4 $35.”

Detroit Lions: “0-16 … We did it first.”

Pittsburgh Steelers: “My dad says run the ball.”

Stick with me

My wife and I are living out of suitcases, stuck in a suites hotel with two maltese, while we make our move to South Carolina.

Closing on the home we are buying has been tentatively set for June 25. We stiil have a home for sell in Evansville, Ind,, and I’ll be making at least one more trip north to take care of some things.

Anyway, I mention this because my blogging time has been limited. But fear not, when the move is complete I will have a writing cabin out back where I can be alone with my thoughts. May even  churn out the next great American novel.

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