Gang, remember the mailbag on Friday and to listen to Press Row with Paschall and the Sports Editor today at 1-3 on ESPN 105.1 or at espnchattanooga.com.
From the "Talks too much" studios, remember we are the world, we are the children; we're the ones who make a brighter day, so let's start giving.
OK, the looming suspensions of approximately 20 players — including former MVPs Ryan Braun and Alex Rodriguez — for their involvement with Biogenesis, the alleged steroids boutique in South Florida, leaves us with several questions/observations about the entire steroid era.
Do we even care any more? The public's collective indifference, be it perceived or real, has to be based in the exhaustion of the never-ending stories and lies and denials. We have moved through the emotional stages of shock to anger to disbelief to disgust to disinterested.
Do the players and leagues and teams and executives want to stop this? We're to a point that this issue needs to be discussed every time a PED story breaks. People inside the clubhouse have to know, right? Be it the backne or the mood swings or simply seeing them do it, spending 162 games together behind closed doors and on the road, players know. Coaches know. If they want to stop it, then why are more clean players not outraged by cheaters taking money out of their pocket or jobs away from other guys doing it the right way.
Why does baseball and cycling seem to be the only sports fighting these troubles? At least cyclists have now started to police their own sport, no longer turning a blind eye to Lance and the rest of dopers, cheaters and liars. (Of course that means there are like three actual Tour de France champions in the last 20 years, so there's that.). But baseball still wrestles restlessly with whispers and cold stares and lies. And what about football and basketball — you can't believe for a second that there is not PEDs in those sports, but those leagues either do not care or have handled every incident so indiscreetly that it is hard to fathom.
So where are we as a sports culture? Do we even care about this any more? Do we assume every baseball player from 1998-2006 used some sort of performance enhancer? What is the next step for the leagues, do they become tougher or more detached?
Is this a fight they can win? And is it a fight they are even interested in pursuing?
(Side note: ESPN has more than a few guys that are blowhards — hey the local affliate even added your's truly on the radio from 1-3 — with Skip Bayless and Berman and some other names coming to mind. That said, they have no one as dialed in on his beat and breaking more news than T.J. Quinn on steroids in baseball. Quinn, Buster Olney, Mel Kiper Jr. — we love the draft, you know this — and Brian Windhorst on all things LeBron are the Rushmore of ESPN's top combination of expert/insider.)
Hernandez dark cloud
Authorities have released documents that are really damning for former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez.
An alleged accomplice is saying he was told Hernandez said he killed Odin Lloyd. Authorities are saying that when they first arrived at Hernandez's house and said they were investigating a killing, Hernandez slammed the door and locked it. Stunning that the "Ostrich, head-in-the-sand-and-this-will-go-away" tact didn't work.
With each passing day the clouds become darker for Hernandez, and we're now to the point where wouldn't you be stunned if he didn't do it.
We'll see, but this much is certain, though: We are 100 percent certain that the Mrs. 5-at-10 would kibosh any ideas about Hernandez and his boyz baby-sitting for the 5-at-10 tots any time soon.
We have kicked around the Georgia Bulldogs a little this week.
Today, let's look at the 2013 Bulldogs' strengths. And there are several.
We could start with Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall — the sophomore tailback tandem lovingly called Gur-shall — and say that either of those cats is the unquestioned starter for every SEC team not named Alabama. (Yes, another "not named Alabama disclaimor. Stay classy Tuscaloosa.)
We could look at an athletic — albeit inexperienced — defensive corps led by GD's new BFF Tray Mathews, Jordan Jenkins and Josh Harvey-Clemons, when JHC returns from suspension, of course.
Those sterling attributes aside, we're going to spend our time on Aaron Murray, the returning Bulldogs quarterback. When we talked with Mike Bobo on the radio in April, Bobo praised Murray as the ultimate "gym rat" and raved about his preparation. We can see that, appreciate that and respect that. Murray is better than his parts and his game translates exceptionally well on Saturdays.
But let's tip our helmet in another direction in this matter.
Mark Richt and his staff have had some high points and some low ones during their highly successful run in Athens. And a key cog in that success has been Richt and Co.'s ability to scout, recruit and develop a river of very good-to-great college quarterbacks. Look at the run of QB1s in Athens and their progression during their time there, and you have to be somewhat awed by the fact that rarely have the Bulldogs been without a least a solid QB.
Now think about recent seasons in Auburn or Knoxville or a slew of other SEC towns, and yes, there were occasions of QB solutions, but there were times of great QB questions too. Georgia's QB quandary is almost always solved before it is ever asked.
That's not an accident, and Richt and his staff deserve high praise for always being ready at the most important position in sports.
This and that
— EA Sports College Football 2014 is trotting out some of the best players in college football history as part of this year's version of the video game classic. Bo Jackson was touring the ESPN campus Tuesday as part of the promotion. Man, Bo and Herschel better be unstoppable in this version because they were all but unstoppable in their day.
— During our morning research we noticed that David Hasselhoff was trending on the Yahoo!. You know who David Hasselhoff is? He's the William Shatner of his generation.
— Matt Stafford got a $50-plus million extension from the Lions. This is an interesting decision and serves as a commentary on the current NFL personnel culture and the almost incalculable value of a franchise quarterback. Stafford is tough and has a big arm and appears to have the confidence of his team and their fan base. Those are extremely valuable commodities. Stafford's also 1-23 as an NFL starter against teams that finished with a winning record. That hardly seems like a three-year, $50-million-type of leader, huh? Interesting indeed.
— The Braves topped the floundering Marlins on Tuesday. That was to be expected. However, the Brothers Upton — two-thirds of the Braves trio now known as the U's of K — went 5-for-8 with three RBIs. It was such an offensive outburst that eight of the nine Braves that went to the plate got a hit. (And yes, the lone hitless Atlanta player was Danny Uggla, the finally piece of the U's of K.)
As always feel free to discuss any of the above topics. And gang, we're short a mailbag letter or two.
We talked on Press Row with David Paschall on Tuesday on ESPN 105.1 about the change in sports culture that more fans would rather watch their favorite team on TV. We understand that report, and can see that logic for a lot of reasons, ranging from cost to start times to family-friendly atmosphere to several others.
Still, there's something special about going to a big game, you know?
Today's talking point: What's the best sporting event you have ever attended? Don't over think it. What was the first answer that jumped into your head?
We'll start with 30-20, the first time Alabama visited Auburn in 1989.
Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...