Archive for August, 2012

Da’Rick Rogers suspended, Dooley still cleaning up from Kiffin (UPDATED II)

Da'Rick Rogers from Calhoun was SEC's best receiver last season. (Robert Willett/Raleigh News & Observer)

Da'Rick Rogers was top SEC receiver in 2011. (Raleigh News-Observer)

(Second update with Derek Dooley saying he doesn’t expect Da’Rick Roger to play this season.)

Two years ago, when new Tennessee coach Derek Dooley made his debut at SEC media days, I made note of the first three subjects he was asked about: 1) His mother; 2) His father; 3) A bar fight that included several of his players. Suffice to say, he would welcome more questions about his mother and father again.

Dooley inherited a mess at Tennessee after the sudden departure of Lane Kiffin. That’s no secret. The fact that the guy’s job might be on the line this season is unfortunate because the image of the team and the character problems of too many players that he inherited takes a while to overcome.

The latest example: Da’Rick Rogers. The talented but often troubled wide receiver from Calhoun, who nearly signed with Georgia in 2010, was suspended indefinitely Thursday by Dooley. No reason was given, other than the …

Continue reading Da’Rick Rogers suspended, Dooley still cleaning up from Kiffin (UPDATED II) »

Now on Internet: It’s Mike Vick Injury Bingo! (ouch)

Ooof! That's going to leave a mark. But how about a game, MV7? (AP photo)

That's going to leave a mark. But how about a game, MV?

Let me preface this by declaring that I am NOT pulling against Michael Vick during his post-prison career, which has the potential to be one of the greatest comeback stories in professional sports history (although not at this rate).

OK, that disclaimer out of the way, this is kind of funny.

Vick’s tendency to take so many hits and keep getting injured, particularly in this NFL exhibition season, has reached mocking level. He hurt the thumb on his throwing hand in Philadelphia’s first preseason game. He had ribs crushed Monday against New England. All X-rays, MRIs and CT scans have been negative, but the guy has spent more time in examination rooms than taking snaps in games. (Two-game stats: 4 for 7, 11 yards, 0 touchdowns, 1 sack, 2 injuries.)

So that prompted Robert Littal from the website, BlackSportsOnline, to post a game: “Mike Vick Injury Bingo.” The game’s winning squares include generic injuries like, …

Continue reading Now on Internet: It’s Mike Vick Injury Bingo! (ouch) »

VIDEO: I was passed over again by Augusta National

Hootie Johnson never much cared about the "point of a bayonet." (AP photo)

Hootie Johnson never much cared about the "point of a bayonet." (AP photo)

(So there was a little hiccup at Cinesport headquarters with the machinery. Here’s a video recap of Augusta National’s decision to add two women members. Just consider this like an NBC Olympics broadcast.)

Augusta National never comments on membership and certainly never had welcomed a woman into their membership before. But the club broke both practices on Monday when it announced former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and financier Darla Moore as members. It was a great and long overdue move by club chairman Billy Payne and Augusta National members, who forged right ahead into . . . well, the 1900s. I spoke about the historic decision with Cinesport’s Noah Coslov (and also told him my shocking recommendation for the potential third woman member).

Some recent typings (no charge)

– MLB’s drug policy too soft — teams should be docked wins

– If Braves serious about East, they need to beat Nationals …

Continue reading VIDEO: I was passed over again by Augusta National »

MLB’s drug policy too soft — teams should be docked wins

Melky Cabrera makes the boo-boo face after an out, which was more common before drugs. (AP photo)

Melky Cabrera makes the boo-boo face after an out, which was common before he juiced.

The objective of a drug policy in professional sports is to deter its use. And yet, there have been 80 violations of baseball’s drug program in the minor and major leagues in 2012 – including 20 alone in the month of August.

The objective of suspending players is in part to have them serve as an example for what can happen if somebody cheats, regardless of the potential rewards that await the player on the other side of the rainbow (and syringe). And yet, the San Francisco Giants’ Melky Cabrera chose to artificially inflate his muscles, which led to him competing for the National League batting title, launching his team into a divisional title race, winning the All-Star Game MVP Award, helping the National League claim home-field advantage in the World Series and setting himself up for the contract of his free-agency dreams.

This is when it’s easy to come to the conclusion that …

Continue reading MLB’s drug policy too soft — teams should be docked wins »

If Braves serious about East, they need to beat Nationals now

You can almost see Jason Heyward say, "Uh-oh," as he lost two fly balls in sun. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

You can almost hear Jason Heyward say, "Uh-oh," as he lost two fly balls in sun in Braves' loss. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Three months ago, when the Braves were swept in their first season series against Washington (by a combined score: 22-10), the thought occurred (by me, anyway) that the Nationals were a nice little story that ultimately would spontaneously combust or do a slow fade into wild-card race oblivion.

That hasn’t happened. In fact, Washington has been in first place for all but 10 of 137 days since playing its season opener, and has been looking down on everybody in the National League East since May 22. (This for a franchise that hadn’t spent even one breakfast in first in five of the previous six years.)

First place used to be an afterthought for the Braves. They wiped their feet on the rest of the division. But they haven’t won a division title since 2005, and their chance to hang another flag — ignoring the misplaced wild-card banner at Turner Field – …

Continue reading If Braves serious about East, they need to beat Nationals now »

LIVE: Braves close homestand (and about Brian McCann)

Brian McCann is back in lineup today after being sat for consecutive games.  (AP photo)

Brian McCann is back in lineup today after being sat for consecutive games. (AP photo)

According to CoolStandings.com, the Braves have a 29.5 percent chance to overtake Washington and win the National League East, a 63.5 percent chance to win a wild card spot and a 93 percent chance to make the playoffs.

I would go into more detail, but we all learned last season what these percentages really mean: bupkis.

The Braves, who start the day four games behind Washington, close a homestand today against Los Angeles. Then they’re off for D.C. for a three-game series against the Nationals. Even with the Stephen Strasburg saga hanging in the air, it seems more likely than not that the Nats are not going to collapse, and that the Braves’ best chance to catch them will hinge on the six remaining games between the two teams (three this week, three more at Turner Field Sept. 14-15-16.

I predict nothing. It’s safer that way.

The most intriguing thing may be how the Braves’ starting rotation …

Continue reading LIVE: Braves close homestand (and about Brian McCann) »

NFL damaging its own product with replacement officials

Shannon Eastin, first woman NFL official, is among the replacements. (AP photo)

Shannon Eastin, from MEAC and first woman NFL official, is among replacements (AP photo)

For as much as the NFL is an image-conscious league, there is one unfortunate truth about its mind-numbing and protracted labor talks with game officials: The league isn’t in any hurry. There is no financial hit. The TV deals are safe, and no team is going to sell one less ticket or replica jersey if a replacement referee – whose resume highlights just may include the Lingerie Football League – happens to blow a call or refers to Atlanta as “Arizona.”

There is no reason to hide from any of that because even NFL vice president Ray Anderson, a former Falcons executive, shoved that reality up front in a phone conversation Friday: “We’ve offered raises of 5 to 11 percent. Just because the owners can afford to pay more doesn’t mean you do it. You’ve never paid for an NFL ticket to watch somebody officiate a game. Nobody has ever paid to watch me be the league supervisor for a …

Continue reading NFL damaging its own product with replacement officials »

Falcons’ defense still showing reason for concern

Asante Samuel got to A.J. Green too late and was burned for a 50-yard touchdown. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Asante Samuel got to A.J. Green too late and was burned for a 50-yard TD(Curtis Compton)

If there is one absolute about NFL exhibition games, it’s that it never is a good idea to make blanket statements about how great or dreadful something or someone is.

The games don’t matter. More often than not, coaches don’t scheme. Players don’t care. Or maybe one guy cares but the guy who’s supposed to be guarding him is just trying to remember whether he Tivo’d “Shark Week.” And then sometimes, as was the case again Thursday night, NFL replacement officials who in their normal everyday life would be pointing you to the historical biographies section at Barnes and Noble, are so completely botching calls that it’s easy to miss that somebody made a great play.

(Example: The Falcons’ Jonathan Babineaux tackled Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton, but was given a personal foul for grabbing the facemask, even though Dalton’s facemask was nowhere near where Babineaux …

Continue reading Falcons’ defense still showing reason for concern »

LIVE: Falcons look to improve (and top Chipper bobbleheads)

Chipper

Chipper, the Bobblehead

Julio Jones

Julio, the Falcon

A.J. Green: last year

A.J., the Bengal

Of all the dilemmas facing Atlanta sports fans in the past, I can’t imagine anything equals this one: What should command more attention — Chipper Jones Bobblehead Night at Turner Field or a meeting of the NFL’s two great young receivers, Julio Jones and A.J. Green, at the Georgia Dome?

Let’s break this down:

• Bobbleheads: OK, it would be a cool memory from Jones’ final season, at least until your kid knocks it off the desk and breaks it. But after the giveaway, it’s really only a game against the Padres. On a scale of 1 to 10, I’ll score it an 8.5.

• Falcons’ Julio Jones vs. Cincinnati’s A.J. Green: Tonight’s game is a mere NFL exhibition. The real impact is zero (barring injuries). The entertainment value drops off when the starters leave (which tonight will be early second quarter). But Jones was dazzling last week against Baltimore: 6 receptions, 109 yards, a touchdown. Green, the former Georgia star, is …

Continue reading LIVE: Falcons look to improve (and top Chipper bobbleheads) »

Donnan goes from Hall of Fame to ‘real SEC’ Hall of Shame

It turns out life was a lot simpler when Jim Donnan was just a football coach. (Getty Images)

It turns out life was a lot simpler when Jim Donnan was just a football coach. (Getty Images)

As Georgia football coaches go, Jim Donnan is the only one who collapsed under the weight of the SEC.

Not that SEC — the real one.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged Donnan with conducting an $80 million Ponzi scheme with an Ohio partner through a West Virginia company, GLC Limited.

This is even worse than losing to Kentucky in your first season.

Donnan mostly made his mark as a football coach at Marshall, where he won Division 1-AA championships. At Georgia, he was a step up from Ray Goff but not nearly as good as his replacement, Mark Richt. He had an impressive enough career to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2009. What happened after that, I don’t know.

Once a coach or an athlete has achieved a certain level in sports and made a fair amount of money, it should not be that difficult to capitalize on your name — legally.

Donnan never coached …

Continue reading Donnan goes from Hall of Fame to ‘real SEC’ Hall of Shame »