THE SPORTS DOCTOR- So much to say: World Cup bad news has competition
I was all set to write about the World Cup again this week, about the U.S. loss and how I was much sadder about it than I had expected to be, about the overt play-acting ("Oooh– I'm going to throw myself on the ground and pretend like I was kicked in the shin— oooh!"), about the dreadful and doesn't-it-deserve-a-penalty practice of passing the ball back and forth, back and forth, just to waste time (and I mean 15 minutes, not 15 seconds).
Yes, I was all set to write about the World Cup and then I read–
And then I read that, according to his lawyers, Michael Vick was most certainly not involved in a 2am shooting outside the Virginia Beach club Guadalajara, even though he was having a birthday party at the very same club at the very same time, and the shooting victim was a co-defendant at Vick's federal dog-fighting trial.
I read that Vick's lawyers claimed he wasn't even present, even though buddies Allen Iverson and DeAngelo Hall were on the guest list. Hall claims he wasn't there– perhaps the $50 ticket price put him off. (I reckon when you're up to your neck in hock to your former NFL team, you do things like charge money to get into your birthday party.)
I shook off the urge to write about Michael Vick and again settled down to write about the World Cup. Maybe I would write about how the referees blatantly stole a goal from England, or how the Argentineans view their coach Maradona as the second coming even though he scored a goal with his hands back in the 1986 World Cup, and it was allowed to stand.
I was all ready to write about that and then I read—
And then I read that three incoming UCLA football players had been arrested for felony theft (in Virginia we call it grand larceny). UCLA police officers arrested the three 18-year-old freshmen last Wednesday; they were released by Thursday morning, two after posting $20,000 bail apiece and one without paying a nickel.
I talked to a lawyer about the discrepancy and didn't get much information, but it became clear that the two players requiring $20,000 to get out of jail most likely had prior convictions, which might mean UCLA knowingly recruits players with criminal records. Don't argue the University didn't know– don't you think "Have you ever been arrested?" is at least the third question on every recruiter's tongue these days (right after "What's your time in the 40, and do your parents need us to buy them a house?")?
But still, I wanted to write about the World Cup, maybe about the really scary facepaint some Ghana fans wore, or how just two months after being called a "bad joke" by Sports Nippon and just weeks after fans started petitions calling for his resignation, Japanese coach Takeshi Okada is being hailed a national hero for lifting Japan to a 3-1 victory over Denmark and taking the team to the second round.
But then I read—
I read that Detroit Lions President Tom Lewand was arrested for drunk driving less than a day after General Manager Martin Mayhew said of the beleaguered and troubled team, "I think we're a much better football team. I think we're a better organization. It's not me; we've done it collectively. But I think we've come a long way."
Okay, so minicamp went well. When a franchise is as bad as the Lions, one must celebrate every small victory, especially with only three wins in the last 40 games. But couldn't Lewand have waited a week before tying one on? If the President getting a DUI is part of the "better organization" part, the Lions must have been a much worse organization than we knew.
After reading that, I was set not to write about the World Cup at all.
Why would I, when there's so much else going on? But then I read about Landon Donovan's paternity suit, and how British bookies are already taking odds on who'll be the next Three Lions coach, and whether FIFA will resist an electronic review for goals.
And I thought, I have to write about the World Cup. I just have to.
Juanita Giles lives in Keysville.