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FILE - In this Aug. 3, 2014, file photo, Dale Earnhardt Jr. celebrates in Victory Lane after winning a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa. Longtime fan favorite Dale Earnhardt Jr. is expected to be the marquee name on NASCAR's 2021 Hall of Fame class, to be announced Tuesday, June 16, 2020. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)

Hauls for the halls

Tuesday was a big day for a couple of notable Hall of Fames around the sports world.

First, Dale Earnhardt Jr. was part of the three-person class elected into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. We can all admit that Dale Jr.'s a Hall of Famer for his off-track personality than his on-track performance, right?

Because as a driver, would we say Dale Jr. underachieved? 

The other Hall in the news was the release of the 2021 nominations for the College Football Hall of Fame.

There were some very notable names and some names that made you wonder, "How is that dude not already in the Hall?"

The first name in the latter category was Champ Bailey, the former Georgia defensive back who was beyond a dude in this time in Athens.

How exclusive is the college hall? Well, according to this release 0.02 percent (1,027 of the 5.4 million college players) make it to Atlanta. 

My top five players on that list, considering the requirements: Bailey, Kevin Faulk of LSU, Dwight Freeney who still holds the college football record 1.61 sacks per game when he played at  Syracuse, Steve Hutchinson, who is one of seven players yo be a four-time All-Big Ten selection during his career at Michigan, and Carson Palmer. (Side question: A Heisman gets you a Hall pass right?)

Side note: Man, it's actually fun to remember what it's like to have familiar sports-like conversations again, right?

 

Who's next?

We had a conversation Tuesday about the T-shirt that launched a million Tweets, complaints and racist accusations.

The OAN shirt forced Mike Gundy to apologize twice. We tried to post an answer to Chas' lengthy comment about our 'insensitive' assertion that it's a bleeping' T-shirt.

Part of Chas' complaint was a point that stood out: "Jay, again, you need to take a deep breath. The leap to "What's next, telling the media what they can and can't report?" is a large one."

Well it appears that because of social pressure, Google is threatening to demonetize The Federalist — a conservative website of some renown — and its Google ad revenue because of comments Google believes is socially unacceptable.

Again, this is without knowing every comment on every article on The Federalist site, there may be some hair-curling outrageousness there that would make George Carlin blush, if, you know Carlin was still alive. 

But have there been any other sites — liberal or conservative — that Google has threatened to all-but end because of comments? And while Google is not telling The Federalist what they can report, the online giant is clearly trying to tell its readers what they can say, no? (And as always, thanks for the civility you guys and gals show around here. respectful conversation about serious issues has never been needed more than right now, in my opinion. You guys do a great job of adhering to that.)

So is that leap onto that slippery slope of censorship still as large?   

As for Gundy, he, by almost every measure, seems to be a jack wagon, and the silence from the thousands of former players is quite telling after Chuba Hubbard's social media blast about Gundy's wardrobe. (Side note: That wardrobe is a really strange looking word, right? Seems like it's misspelled.)

Hubbard is the latest college athlete flexing their new-found power. Mixed with the cancel culture around us, that power will be focused on some interesting targets, now and moving forward.

The name Calhoun — a former slave proponent and a former VP of the U.S. in the early 1800s who donated the land that Clemson University is built on — was stripped from Clemson's honors college. OK.

Virginia has removed some logos that have vague references to slavery. OK.

Texas A&M QB Kellen Mond is demanding action that the statue of former A&M president Lawrence Sullivan Ross, who saved the university during the late 1800s as well as being a general in the Confederate army, be removed from campus. OK, but there are more online signatures on the petition to keep the statue than to remove it, which will make a really interesting moment if come the season opener Mond says he won't play unless the statue comes down.    

When will the history rewriters come for George Washington, who owned slaves? Or Thomas Jefferson?

Or in the matters of college sports, how long before players demand that Kentucky changes the name of the arena in which they play home games?

And as beloved as Nick Saban is, does he have the power to take the Bear's name off the stadium in Tuscaloosa? Because if we're going to rewrite it, shouldn't we rewrite all of it, and we all know Bear Bryant did things that make Mike Gundy look like Mahatma Gandhi, in any T-shirt.    

 

NBA details

OK, we all know that baseball is walking the jagged edge of disaster. Rinse. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Well, the six-phase plan to bring the NBA back was released Tuesday night. There are some interesting side items that kind of highlight the surreal surroundings around us. Among them:

 

> Players will be tested regularly, but no actual schedule was detailed;

 

> If a player chooses not to go he will not get paid unless he is a) already suffering from a season-ending injury, of b) determined to be in a high-risk group in terms of The Corona;

 

> Upon arrival in Disney, players will have to self quarantine for 48 hours;

 

> Each team will have a chef and food access 24/7 as well as game rooms, card tables, recreational activities including ping-pong. No doubles in ping pong, though, which makes about as much sense as Thelma buckling her seat belt before driving off the cliff;

There are several more of course, and the details trickled out as word leaked that Kyrie Irving and Avery Bradley and a coalition of NBA players are demanding for details of what the NBA is going to do to help black causes.

Bradley words were direct: "Regardless of how much media coverage will be received, talking and raising awareness about social injustice isn't enough. Are we that self-centered to believe no one in the world is aware of racism right now? That, as athletes, we solve the real issues by using our platforms to speak? We don't need to say more. We need to find a way to achieve more. Protesting during an anthem, wearing T-shirts is great, but we need to see real actions being put in to the works." 

Well-said Avery. 

Some of the coalition's demands range from Rooney rule-type changes to looking to change the the way the league donates to causes and the way the league picks partners:

 

> Changed policies in hiring more black front-office and head-coaching candidates

 

> Financial assistance to organizations serving black communities;

 

> Working with black-owned businesses and arena vendors.

 

So there's that. (If I'm a white guy who owns a T-shirt company that partners with the Dallas Mavericks or the Portland Trailblazers, well, I guess my days are numbered. Lots of T-shirt news these days, huh?)

 

 

This and that

— As if the MLB needed more difficulties, now Dr. Anrthony Fauci is saying that playing into the fall could be dangerous. (Side question: If baseball is at risk from round two of the Corona — if you buy into there being a round two — how in the world is football not at risk into October and beyond?)

 

— Speaking of baseball, here's TFP ace columnist Mark Wiedmer on the MLB being its own worst enemy — players and owners alike.  

 

— Good-bye Aunt Jemima. In a lot of ways, I'm kind of surprised that Jemima was still around to be honest.

 

— You know the rules, when TFP college football expert David Paschall writes about college football, we read and link Paschall's thoughts on college football. Here's the next installment of the most memorable games Paschall covered in the 2000s with Nick Saban showing the league that he's Nick Bleepin' Saban baby. (Side note: Why, oh why did Danny Kannell's daddy have to point the Dolphins to Daunte Culpepper rather than Drew Brees back in the day? With Brees, Saban is still in Miami and the Dolphins-Patriots battles would have been epic. And the rest of the SEC would not be under his thumbprint as the Tide's boss.)

 

Today's questions

Which way Wednesday starts this way

Which of the three former Tennessee player on the college football hall of fame ballot would you vote for, Willie Gault, Bobby Majors and Al Wilson?

If you could only visit one, which sports Hall of Fame would be atop your list?

Which Hall is the best, Daryl Hall, Anthony Michael Hall, Arsenio Hall, Monty Hall, Tom T Hall or Diedre Hall? 

Today is June 17. Interesting day.

On this day 26 years ago more than 90 million Americans watched on live TV as OJ and Al went for a leisurely drive in a white Bronco with a police escort around L.A. June 17, 1994 got its own 30-for-30 because of the convergence of OJ's chase, the NHL playoffs in NYC, the Knicks-Rockets in the NBA Finals, the World Cup in the U.S., and Arnold Palmer playing his final U.S. Open round.

Charles Goodyear got his first patent for rubber on this day in 1837. Wonder if that worked out for him and his family?

On this day in 2018, The Incredibles 2 set a box office record for an animated release b y earning $180 million in its opening weekend.

Rushmore of animated sequels. Go, and remember the mailbag.

 

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