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Newz Forum: OTHER: The Sports Curmudgeon on Anna Kournikova, Maurice Clarett , the Timberwolves plus

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posted on Mar, 6 2005 @ 06:49 PM
I guess it was about two weeks ago when there was news of an arrest in Florida. It seems as if a homeless man swam naked across an open body of water to get to Anna Kournikova's "house" on the beach in Florida.

At that point, he was arrested and accused of stalking, resisting arrest and battery on a police officer. The man had previously been infatuated with one of the Spice Girls - not Beckham's wife - and had written "repeatedly" to her. However, he had put his feelings for her in the past and had convinced himself that Anna Kournikova had some kind of positive feelings about him. She doesn't. At his hearing, she testified that she has hired bodyguards for the first time - that's surprising in itself - and that she was and is fearful for her safety. Her stalker has done time in prison in Wisconsin for stabbing a man. During his incarceration/trial there, he supposedly told authorities that he was a "slave to an evil that he could not escape". The judge warned him that his actions were "stalking behavior" and ordered him to remain 1,000 feet away from Anna Kournikova when/if he is released from prison and the man replied that he thought he had engaged in "proper courting behavior". And they say that romance is dead...

OK, so far this sounds like a fairly typical story about an attractive woman and a stalker who might be politely described as a psycho/loser. But there is a twist here. In this case in Florida, the man has been granted the right to represent himself in the criminal proceedings; and at some point in the hearing, he hinted that he might use an insanity defense.

Now for the grand philosophical question:

Can a court allow a man who claims to be/have been insane the right to represent himself and also maintain that the man had proper and competent counsel in his trial?

Maurice Clarett showed up at the NFL combine in Indianapolis to work out for scouts and NFL "personnel people". His agent had said that he was in the best shape of his life and would "wow" everyone there. He appeared to be in good condition and then ran a 40 in 4.82 seconds (electronically timed). Every roster has at least one linebacker that runs the 40 that fast and most teams will have two such people on the roster. His second sprint was slightly better - - and then he declined to do any other workouts and left town. He has an "individual workout day" scheduled next week.

Put aside all the evil conspiratorial theories about Clarett and how the NFL wants to punish him for challenging their almightiness in court. That's Oliver Stone territory. Here's my problem. Clarett has known for about a year that these workouts are critically important to his future as a professional football player because he hasn't played in a year and his position in the draft will be determined by his "basic skills". He has had a year to prepare for these workouts and this is the outcome?

So let's go through some of the possibilities:

1. He showed up in great condition and is just painfully slow for an NFL RB.

2. He wasn't in really good condition because he wasn't smart enough to realize how important the workouts were.

3. He wasn't really in good condition because his "boys" convinced him that these workouts were for "chumps" and he is really a "champ".

4. He wasn't really in good condition because he does not have the self-discipline to work hard without a coach barking in his ear.

5. He just had a really bad day in Indianapolis.

Unless the reason is #5 above, Maurice Clarett's future in the NFL could be in serious doubt. He'll get drafted or signed as a free agent because he was a highly visible figure on the Ohio State national championship team; but if any of the conditions described in #1-4 above obtains, he isn't going to make it in the NFL for very long. Since his individual workout is only a week away, he does not have time to get into shape if he isn't already in good shape, so he better do very well next week. Or come to think of it, I remember back at Ohio State he said he wanted to play in his sophomore year as a RB and as a LB. Maybe that's the story. He's trying to get the people to stop thinking of him as the next coming of Jim Brown - his advisor and confidante in his tribulations with the legal system - and to get them to start thinking of him as the next coming of Lawrence Taylor.
Sorry, that too is Oliver Stone territory.

And by the way, somebody in the press will probably ask him why he put on his sweats and left town after his two underwhelming sprints. If the press does not - or does not have the opportunity to - ask that question, one of the "personnel people" is sure to do so. Clarett had better have a good answer for that one.

The Minnesota Timberwolves have to be the most disappointing team in the NBA this year. Everyone had them penciled in as a high seed in the Western Conference playoffs and many people had them in the Conference Finals. At the moment, they are in a real struggle to make it into the playoffs at all. Latrell Sprewell and Sam Cassell have been significantly less productive than they were last year. Sprewell isn't likely to come back next year because of the acrimony generated by his comments about being insulted by the Wolves contract extension offer; Cassell has a year to go on his contract but either his skills are quickly eroding or he is the "head-case-in-waiting". And to make matters worse, the Wolves' contract with Michael Olowokandi also still has a year to go. Somebody convinced the Wolves' braintrust that he was the "presence in the lane" that the team needed. Olowokandi is a "presence in the lane" the same way a totem pole would be a "presence in the lane". Things may not be looking up for the Timberwolves at the moment, but they might be even worse next year...

Jay Leno is not missing the NHL games on television. In a recent monologue, Leno said that as a result of the NHL season being canceled, "If you want to see people on TV with bad teeth, you'll have to wait for the Prince Charles wedding." What I notice is that the weeping and gnashing of teeth over the season cancellation has gone away completely. Even the rumormongers in the media have dropped the subject. And by the way, I think it was a very good thing that the league and the players did not reach an agreement so late that they could only put on a 28 game season. Here's the reason. Suppose they did that and then there was a really exciting and compelling Stanley Cup playoff series. What you would have shown the fans most conclusively is that there is no reason for the season to be so long.

Finally, an observation from Dan Bickely in the Arizona Republic:

"For some reason when news broke that a 400-pound tiger had been shot in the streets of Los Angeles, thoughts immediately drifted to Cecil Fielder."

But don't get me wrong, I love sports...

Copyright The Sports Curmudgeon

[Edited on 3/6/05 by SportzWriter]

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