Bo Jackson. And no, not my glorious English bulldog who looks an awful lot like UGa but is named for the former Auburn great. Jackson, as Weeds details here, covered the funeral expenses for the Uvalde victims to the tune of more than $170K. Class move. Bo knows kindness.
Tony Finau. We have heckled the long-hitting Samoan before for his balky putter and Sunday skittishness. But dude started Sunday's final round five shots back — and at plus-500 (allegedly, according to a buddy) to win on FanDuel — and he rolled the field on the way to his third win. Yes, some Sunday sketchiness was present, but he landed his third PGA win and clinched a spot on the U.S. Team in the upcoming President's Cup,
Followers of the NL East. The Braves torrid stretch since the start of June — they are 34-12 since then and have moved from double-digit games back into a near-tie with the Mets atop the division — has made this the best race in baseball. And it comes with a week before the trading deadline, and let's be really clear: Last year, Braves GM Alex Anthopoulos pulled all the right levers to land a World Series title. This year, the Braves need to add one more starting pitcher — at least — because the Mets will likely add one in the coming weeks, and his name is Jacob deGrom.
Slava Medvedenko. The two-time NBA champ is auctioning off his title rings to help his home country fight off the Russian invasion. Cool story here.
Lamont Paris. It was rumored earlier this summer, but it became official that the former UTC hoops boss convinced the top 2023 recruit to reclassify and come to South Carolina and play now.
Boston Red Sox. Sorry Spy, but bowser. In a critical 10-game stretch wrapped around the All-Star break that culminated on Sunday against the three top teams in the NL East, the Red Sox went 1-9. The last three came in a sweep at the hands of Toronto — at Fenway — with a combined score of 40-10. Ouch-standing.
The PGA. Yeah, missing some of those names yet. Naturally this was a weakened field following a major — scheduling is a big talking point for the LIV — and Scott Piercy having the wheels completely fall off was gripping TV regardless, but with all the LIV chatter, a weekend like this is magnified. Plus, here's what sports super-agent Leigh Steinberg admitted about the LIV: "At the end of the day, this league may sustain. Because the numbers are so astronomical people may look at it "I have one life, one career, one earning curve' The Saudis have unlimited resources."
JJ Redick's take on Jerry West and the NBA predecessors. Hey, JJ, making your name in the media by being the "Yeah I can say the most outrageous things and get clicks" guy is like being an enforcer who can't score in the NBA. Yes, there will be a short-term window for you and that's cool if that's the role you want, but eventually saying the players in the 1950s and 60s were 'plumbers' becomes who you are not what you're doing. Good luck with that.
Matt Gaetz. Speaking of people who say stupid things to hear themselves talk, Gaetz said over the weekend, that women who "look like a thumb" should not be complaining about abortion rights because they have the least chance of getting pregnant. Dude, c'mon. He continued with "They're like 5'2", 350 pounds, and they're like, 'Give me my abortions or I'll get up and march and protest. A few of them need to get up and march — they need to get up and march for like an hour a day. Swing those arms, get the blood pumpin', maybe mix in a salad."
Adam Duvall. Dude never got it going this year and now his 2022 is done because he needs surgery on a torn tendon in his wrist. And you have to wonder how costly this has been for Duvall, who was on a one-year deal with the Braves. He'll be 34 next month and he hit a meager .213 this season.
Vols' violation victory
Forget for a second the laughable nature of the NCAA. Forget how slow these investigations move, a fact magnified by how forever hollow it seems that when UT reportedly has an $8 million five-star QB coming in the next cycle, the NCAA deems giving $3,000 to a player's family to help ends meet is a Level-1 violation.
Let that sink in and now know this: UT, for arguably the first time ever, won by being accused of massive NCAA rule violations.
Because of the pre-emptive steps and the crisis management when the school overhauled its previous management, which was a large part of the crisis, the NCAA notice of allegations that landed in Knoxville on Friday afternoon was a salvo of several things.
And almost all of them good for UT.
> It punctuated and purified the decision to sack Jeremy Pruitt for cause, voiding his buyout and ultimately saving the school tens of millions of dollars, even with the NCAA fines looming;
> It allowed Phil Fulmer, who still has a spot in the school's legacy, to escape relatively unscathed, at least in the eyes of the NCAA. Yes, his decision to hire Pruitt sullies his forever-Orange tenure, but at least it's not covered with the scarlet letters of NCAA violations (as an AD that is):
> The front-end actions implemented will almost mean the after-the-fact wrist slapping will be minimal, which means UT paid the biggest price in years when the program likely was going to struggle anyway.
It also should be studied in AD and university leadership seminars across the country. Because UT falling on the sword of Pruitt's malfeasance as an NCAA rule-follower saved them more than $12 million to fire him for his way-more-egregious malfeasance as a head football coach.
Firing coaches for cause should be the wave of the future, when applicable, especially as those dollars are becoming more precious because of tighter pockets of the donors (thanks Joe) and the players getting more of the pie.
It's a rare day for sure, but the NCAA pointing its bony and decrypted finger at UT and saying "cheater" was reason for the Vols to raise an index finger this weekend and claim their biggest football wins in years.
This and that
— This weekend's A2 column from a round-faced fella in case you missed it.
— You know the rules. Here's Paschall in his annual series of stories from SEC media days and a look at Arkansas linebacker Bumper Pool. Wonder if he's related to other family-fun night regulars like Ping Pong, Back Gammon or Bill Shipp's little brother "Battle" Shipp.
— So if you were wondering what became of the "Mad Hungarian" Al Hrabosky, he's doing local MLB analysis for Cardinals games on Bally Sports. He made the radar this weekend by confusing beloved movie "Anchorman" lead Ron Burgundy with disgraced former porn star Ron Jeremy. Whammy.
— Not sure I can recall a NASCAR winner being DQed after failing a postface inspection, but that's what happened to Denny Hamlin Sunday at Pocono. The old-school-meets-new-world revelations of this intrigue me. First, it embraces the old-times NASCAR adage of "If you ain't cheating', you ain't tryin'" while also creating a slew of new-school issues like what do the gambling sites do with this kind of ruling?
— And no, I did not forget about the Hall of Fame inductions in Cooperstown, it's just I loathe watching the MLB Shrine become the Hall of Very Good. And the hypocrisy of letting David Ortiz in — whether he was wrongly included in the Mitchell Report or not does not change the fact that he was in the Mitchell Report, which is more evidence than was ever compiled against Barry Bonds — is staggering to me. Discuss.
Weekend winners and losers. Go.
As for multiple-choice Monday, of these selections, which 1980-90s ad campaigns with athletes was the best:
— Nike's Bo knows;
— McDonald's game of horse between MJ and Bird;
— I wanna be like Mike with Nike;
— Other, please specify.
As for today, let's review. On this day in 1990, Roseanne sang the national anthem in San Diego, grabbed her crotch and spat. Yes, it was every bit as classy and that sounds.
Rushmore of worst performances of the National Anthem. Go, and Roseanne is a no-doubter.