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Let's handle our business.

First, here's an excellent column from TFP sports editor and prep sports patriarch Stephen Hargis on the Flemmons crew showing us that family is not always connected by blood.

Second, here's Paschall on the UT-Alabama bludgeoning on tap for Saturday night. Keep your eyes peeled, because if it becomes official that Hendon Hooker is a no-go, this becomes a mortgage payment-sized wager in my mind and the line will shoot closer to 28 sooner rather than later.

Third, remember to get your nominations in for the next 5-at-10 Bracket Challenge on the best college football gameday atmosphere. We'll vote next week.

Finally, to the Rushmores.

Rushmore of movie musicals. OK, this one got tricky. For a slew of reasons. First the traditional with "The Sound of Music," "Grease," "The Greatest Showman" and "My Fair Lady." And yes, there are some controversial ones left on the cutting room floor. I felt the biopics of musical groups deserved its own category for the likes of "Coal Miner's Daughter," "Walk the Line," "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "Rocketman," as well as a slew of others. And then the real tricky part in what do you do with Disney's slew of great movie ventures that are cartoons and filled with musical greatness like "The Lion King," "Sing," "Moana," "Beauty and the Beast" and so many others?

Rushmore of sports stars in TV cameos as themselves. Kevin McHale was aces in a stint on "Cheers." Hernandez' time on "Seinfeld" certainly was great — and in truth, "Seinfeld" had a slew, including Steinbrenner and a bunch of random Yankees, including Derek Jeter, who was in one of the greatest "Seinfeld" episodes ever in "The Abstinence," and of course the glorious "The Simpsons" episode when nine big-league players join Mr. Burns' softball team.

Rushmore of movie Native Americans. "The Last of the Mohicans," of course. "Dances with Wolves," "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee" and "Geronimo."

Rushmore of romanticized criminals. Can all mafia members be placed into a Capone/Gotti category? I say yes. Billy the Kidd, and Bonnie and Clyde.  

To the bag.


From Mike

I thought for sure you would have been all over the story about the Washington State coach being fired this week.

What's going on? Are you scared to write about controversial stuff these days?

Mike —

There was a lot going on this week — remember Thursday night was just the 25th day ever that an NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB game were played on the same day. So there's that. (And that could grow this Sunday or Monday depending on the baseball schedule.)

The Washington State story does not interest me as much as it may interest others.

For starters, I am unfamiliar with coach Nick Rolovich's religious views and beliefs, so I'm not sure about the decision to deny his religious exemption to not getting the vaccine, a decision that led to Rolovich and some assistants losing their jobs.  

Plus, I have made a conscious effort to back away from the overcharged and emotional COVID-19/vaccine discussions whenever possible. 

You asked about it, Mike, so I'll answer. That's how you guys and gals drive this bus on Fridays.

As for Rolovich, religious beliefs aside, I'm stunned that anyone involved in big-dollar athletics is not onboard with the vaccine, at least in a practical sense.

You demand your players, staff and everyone in your organization do everything possible to be at their peak physically. From training to diet to preparation. And there are millions at stake for that dedication

The vaccine could clearly be filed into that discussion of doing everything possible to be ready to play.

And in truth, the back-and-forth about private employers and the vaccine mandates, while interesting, is more complex. Because, again, the discussion about forcing folks to run their business a certain way is counter-intuitive to me in a lot of ways.

(Side note: In my view, our leaders missed the boat from the start on how to increase the percentages of working folks getting the jab. Use the insurance coverage offered rather than the toxic word of mandates. Add $500 a month to your insurance if you and your eligible family members are not vaccinated, and watch folks line up. That very theory got this 20-plus-year, can-of-Copenhagen-a-day dipper to quit cold turkey in a weekend.)  

But avoiding the vaccine discussion, which almost always leads to a vaccine argument for those who feel strongly one way or the other, has added to my personal joy.

And before anyone gets the wrong idea, I'm 100% pro-vaccine. I have it. I will get the booster when I'm eligible. All the immediate 5-at-10 family members eligible to get it have gotten it, and we are counting down the days until our 11-year-old can get it.

But I have forever wanted less government interference in our day-to-day lives. And yes, I know all the caveats: We have long-since forced vaccines. We have waves of government control, from seat belts to countless other examples.

That doesn't mean more government is good though.

Especially when our government and society decision-makers are being led by emotion far too often.

New York City took down a Thomas Jefferson statue earlier this week after erecting a George Floyd statue earlier this summer. Anyone want to explain that one?

The trending headlines on Twitter Friday morning could not be ignored that the NAACP is demanding AT&T remove One America News Network from its platforms. The story two headlines down was that China was removing the Yahoo! News app from Apple stores, and Apple is going along with it. (Hey Tim Cook, c'mon man. And War Eagle.)

And that's just the tip of the spear of meaty stories this week.

There was Dave Chappelle and the Netflix fallout. (Side note: Can you imagine the landmines around being a stand-up comedian these days compared to the Eddie Murphy, Richard Pryor, George Carlin routines of our childhood? Wow. Eddie Murphy Raw is the MJ of stand-up routines in my eyes, and it would have zero shot of seeing the light of day in modern times.)

There was Chuck Barkley blasting Kyrie Irving for his decision to miss games because he does not want the shot. Again, I love Chuck, I'm not a fan of Kyrie, but adhered to my vaccine talk avoidance. That said, Chuck was spot on during his opening night TN rant that the folks who are comparing Kyrie to Ali for his 'social justice' stance simply a) are ignorant about the history of the two-star athletes, and b) conveniently ignore the fact that Ali went to jail and lost millions for his belief and Kyrie is sitting at home collecting almost $2 million a month whether he plays or not. That's apples and anvils in terms of sacrifice, and if we're going to compare Ali and Irving as activists, well that discussion would last as long as a fight between the two in Ali's prime.

As for being scared, well, scared is not the right word, but know this: I'm cautious about what I write, because goodness knows the slightest line crossed by a conservative white guy in this day and age on certain topics would cost my family greatly.

That's just how it is, and it's sad and unfortunate and a detriment to our conversation. Especially when you view it through this prism: All of these efforts fall under the umbrella, at least in part, of inclusion, and that's a very good thing in my eyes. But those banging the drum the loudest for the inclusion that matters most to them couldn't care less about the inclusion of beliefs or ideas from the other side.

And a big part of this monstrous divide was formed in a flawed belief — that started on one side and been embraced on the other — that inclusion is an either/or proposition.

Buckets, that got wordy. Let's move quickly — and the editors in the back say, "Hallelujah."
 

From Jeff

Not complaining but where did "this" Will Smith come from and what did he do with his doppelgänger that we had to put up with for most of the season?

Jeff —

No clue, but it's a completely fair question and a huge reason the Braves are a win away from returning to the World Series for the first time since 1999.

A quick numbers check: Regular season had a pedestrian 3.44 ERA with 28 walks and 49 hits in 68 innings and 37-of-43 in save chances; postseason has a 0.00 ERA in six innings with only two walks and three hits allowed and 3-of-3 on save chances

If it's a renewed confidence, Brian Snitker deserves a lot of credit for that.

Side note: Snitker is managing circles around Dave Roberts in this series.

Side note, part II: Forget last night Braves fans. It was a perfect storm of convergence. Punching your World Series ticket in Truist on Saturday night will be a ton of fun.    
 

From Nat

Jay, love your writing. Do you ever put the 5-at-10 in the paper or is it just online?

And my main question was if you saw the "A Nightmare on Elm Street" house was for sale, and which houses could you not live in because of being scared?

Thanks and keep up the great work.

Nat  —

Thanks for the kind words. Occasionally there could be some overlap in the paper from 5-at-10 ideas or conversations, but not often.

We used to do it a little more early in the 5-at-10's run.

Side note: Want to know something crazy? The 5-at-10 turned 11 on Monday. Yes, 11 full years, every Monday thru Friday since late October 2010 when Cam Newton was leading the Auburn Tigers to the promised land. Today is the 2,860th consecutive 5-at-10. Wow.

And in truth, it was started to be an alternative way for me to write more. And come next year, when the paper goes online full-time other than Sundays, well, the 5-at-10 is already living that life, you know?

I did see the L.A. house from Freddie's dreams was on the market for the tidy sum of $3.25 million. Gang, it's three bedrooms and four baths and it's at $3.25 million? Egad, and we think Chattanooga's real estate is through the roof.

As for scary places I'll never lay my head, well, you start with "The Amityville Horror" house. Then the lodge where "The Shining" was filmed. The family house in "Poltergeist." And then the apartment building called the Dakota in NYC that was used as the setting for "Rosemary's Baby."

Yeah, we're good.  
 

From a few of you

What do you think will ultimately happen in the Pruitt-UT face-off?

Gang  —

So hard to know because of the pieces in motion.

First, do I think Pruitt has some dirt that would make UT's NCAA troubles only worse? Yeah, I do.

And that simple fact is one of the big reasons why so many coaches who have deserved to be fired with cause — goodness knows the cockroaches Ed Orgeron could explode in Red Stick — are still awarded buyouts and have their contracts fulfilled.

Side note: We had a great question about why is Coach O treated with kid gloves considering his track record, and I'm not sure there is an answer for that, HHH. Yes, the accent helps and so do the Shrek similarities, but Coach O has a Tarkanian NCAA rap sheet that could teeter on criminal stuff depending on what is revealed that he knew and when he knew it. Plus, I've even seen some wonder if Coach O is the cartoon character that College GameDay should pursue as Lee Corso's replacement. Personally, I wouldn't want to be attached to Coach O until there is a lot more clarity about what happened at LSU.

Anywell, as for Pruitt, what is even more intriguing — at least to me — is that to prove either side, Pruitt will have to show how dirty he was or UT will have to show how much cause they had to fire Pruitt with cause.

And neither works out well for a Vols program that assuredly does not need a lengthy NCAA penalty hanging over it as Josh Heupel tries to restock the roster and rebuild the program.And if that's the starting point — that each has a lot to lose to try to win this case — then the early edge goes to Pruitt, because by even broaching this subject, he is persona non grata in the college coaching realm.

Think of the guys and fringe criminals who have received multiple shots at multiple great jobs — looking at you Urban — and nothing carries a bigger scarlet letter in that realm than being a whistleblower when things don't go your way.

Not even sure Nick Saban would want to try to rehab Pruitt's image after this. (Although if Pruitt joined Saban's staff, the conspiracy theorists will have a field day trying to prove that Pruitt was a double agent sent to Knoxville by the Dark Lord to continue the Big Orange misery. Oh my.)

As for the question, I think UT finds a way to make it go away as quietly and inexpensively as possible, but I don't feel support strong about it.

Have a great weekend friends.

some text
Jay Greeson
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