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Newz Forum: OTHER: Shaquille O'Neal, Donna Lopiano, Rick Adelman, the Batmobile joining NASCAR plus

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posted on May, 8 2005 @ 10:19 AM
The hullabaloo about Jeff Van Gundy's fine for overzealously complaining about the officiating in the NBA playoffs seems to have quieted down a bit and hopefully David Stern won't reignite it. The media reaction to that event overshadowed two other "whining about the refs" incidents in the playoffs.

While the Nets were still doing their cameo appearance before the Heat abruptly sent them off to play golf for the summer, Nets' coach, Lawrence Frank, was complaining that Shaq was getting away with assault and battery on the court and that Shaq was aided and abetted by some lax officiating. The league did not respond to those comments but Shaq did. Shaq referred to Lawrence Frank as "Laura" and added, "I wish he'd go to a manly tactic and just fight me; don't whine. When he whines, that's why I change his name to Laura Frank."

Obviously, Lawrence Frank was not going to fight Shaquille O'Neal. Frank may not be a MENSA candidate, but he is clearly smarter than your typical parsnip. So he let the matter drop. However, there is an organization called the Women's Sports Federation and one of their missions is to get more coverage of women's sports in the media. Go to their website and they have an action plan for people to follow to get more media coverage because they calculate that only 5% of sports media attention goes to women. So this was a natural for them to get some publicity and their Executive Director, Donna Lopiano, issued a statement chastising Shaq for his insensitive remarks, "We all emulate our heroes, and the male locker room is a bastion of sexist comments." So she achieved the goal of more coverage of what at least one woman was doing for one moment in the sports section of the paper but not much more.

Let's suppose for a moment that she is absolutely correct and we all emulate our heroes. Now let me be unambiguous here. I don't want to have as a hero anyone who thinks it is important to respond to a throwaway line such as the one Shaq used. If Lawrence Frank were offended and said something brief about it without resorting to some kind of equally disparaging remark about Shaq, I could live with that. But anyone else who feigns righteous indignation over something like that is not a hero in my book. If I find myself emulating them, I'll gargle with razor blades.

The other "coach whining at the refs" incident is just a bit ironic. Rick Adelman's Sacramento Kings bowed out of the playoffs losing to the Sonics. At one point, Adelman complained that Sonics' defender, Reggie Evans, was falling down and drawing phantom calls from the officials against the Kings. He did have a good line about Evans saying that he had taken flopping to a new dimension, "He goes down when the air conditioning comes on." Fortunately, we did not have to put up with some lame commentary from the Air Conditioning Manufacturers Cartel about the chronic problem of disrespect for all refrigeration units in general and air conditioners in specific. But there is a great irony here. Rick Adelman spent years playing Vlade Divac at center and Divac is the player who created flopping as an art form. And we never heard a peep from Adelman in those times...

Marquette University has changed its nickname. If you care about that even a little bit and you are a male, send a note to Donna Lopiano to let her know that there is sensitivity out there and that some men do care about matters of form as opposed to substance. Marquette used to be the Warriors but they determined that name was sufficiently insensitive that they changed it to the Golden Eagles a while ago. There was a general lack of enthusiasm about the name Golden Eagles and some of the alums were agitating for a return to the Warriors. The Board of Trustees met and pondered this problem for a while and took action this week. No longer will the name Golden Eagles bore the Marquette faithful; neither will there be a return to the potentially offensive name Warriors; the Board of Trustees opened the magic curtain and introduced the Marquette Gold. I'll pause here for a moment to let you gather yourself because I know that you must be awestruck by the genius represented in that decision.

OK, are you back in control yet? Good. It doesn't stop there. In the afterglow of this decision, people felt compelled to expand on the news item and make it into something far more than it is. For example Marquette University president, Father Wild said:

"I'm very pleased we have chosen this direction for Marquette athletics. With Marquette Gold, the Board has captured, I truly believe, decades of tradition in one profound term that symbolizes the high standards always met by our student athletes and coaches."

Can I get a pitchfork over here because the bovine excrement is up over my ankles? Can't we just leave it that you didn't want to offend the local Native American advocacy groups and go back to Warriors and you hadn't generated any heat with the name Golden Eagles and so you changed names again? That's all this is. Instead of all the rhetorical falderal, here's another way to look at this:

OK we just changed our name to the Gold. Now, what's the mascot going to be? An ingot won't work because ingots just tend to lie there and collect dust.

I got it! The new mascot will be a toilet. Get it? We can call it "The Gold Standard".

NASCAR has a race scheduled in Michigan next month and the race will be sponsored by the new Batman movie, Batman Begins. You guessed it; the pace car will be the Batmobile. I wonder if anyone considered making the pit crews all dress up like Alfred the butler for that day. Imagine if this trend catches on. For the next James Bond flick, the pace car could be driven by Bond and spread out an oil slick on the track causing a 25-car pile-up... Oh, I forgot, that usually happens anyway - - except it isn't the pace car that does that.

Finally, in honor of the Kentucky Derby on tap for tomorrow, here is a horse-related quip from Jim Reeves in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:

"Apparently there's a 'chick flick' in the works about the romance between Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles. They're going to call it Horse Whisperer II."

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

Copyright the Sports Curmudgeon


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