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Newz Forum: OTHER: Hesiman Trophy Trust, NHL, World Cup soccer, Zinedine Zidane plus more...

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posted on May, 29 2006 @ 12:06 PM
There's a big hoo-hah going on now about what might happen to the Heisman Trophy if Reggie Bush's parents were improperly receiving benefits based on his star athlete status. Frankly, I don't care much about their housing arrangements and I am not the least bit surprised that an agent who aspired to represent Bush might find a way to get cozy with his parents. Here's what I want to happen:

1. Heisman Trophy Trust folks decide to rescind Bush's Heisman.

2. Vince Young - the second place finisher - says he doesn't want the trophy because it is nothing more than a dust collector.

3. Heisman Trophy Trust folks go into wild PR spin mode to try to convince folks that the trophy still matters. (Psst ... It doesn't!)

In another college football development, Keith Jackson says he will retire from play-by-play broadcasting permanently this time. Jackson is 77 and said that he does not want to be in the pressure-cooker of play-by-play preparation and traveling. He said poignantly, 'I don't want to die in a stadium parking lot.' Keith Jackson was the best college football announcer of the last 35 years and whomever you like as the second place finisher in that contest is way behind. When the captains meet in the center of the field for the first college football game of next season, everyone in the stands should stand up and shout:

'Whoa Nellie!!'

NBC has telecast a couple of NHL playoff games already and in the first two games - Rangers/Devils and Avs/Stars - the ratings were down almost 20% compared to the ABC telecasts two years ago. That's the bad news. Here's the good news. The ratings are up an infinite amount compared to last season when there weren't any games to telecast.

Over on the cable side of the NHL TV package, there was an announcement that OLN - the Outdoor Life Network - will change its name; it will become Versus. Every time I read that or hear that, my mind instantly asks, 'Versus what?' No matter. Here's what the OLN president had to say about this in corporate newspeak:

'Versus is a word that perfectly captures the essence of our brand. It is immediate shorthand for competition and has a range that can suit everything from stick and ball sports to bull riding to field sports. We felt is was a slam-dunk and sports fans we talked to all agreed.'

I'm sorry to be the prune in the sugar bowl here, but here's a sports fan who disagrees. The name is stupid. I suspect the network wanted to change the name to get some publicity for a network no one watches and because hockey games aren't played outdoors that provided an excuse to change the name. I have to apologize here because I don't know how to say that in corporate newspeak. By the way, another possibility for a network name to 'capture the essence of competition' would be 'The B.O. Network.' I wonder if they thought about that and asked sports fans about it.

Memo to OLN President: Call yourself whatever the hell you want but just don't call me late for dinner.

As the FIFA World Cup approaches and an estimated 100,000 English soccer fans prepare to travel to Germany for some of the games, there were stories saying that the English government is putting out translations for German soccer chants some other common phrases - perhaps including 'Where do I post bail so I can get out and go see the game?' Meanwhile, the German government has told the European Union folks that they will institute border checks on roads during the World Cup. The treaty that set up the EU provided for free border crossing but the German government thinks that checking for undesirables coming across the border is a good idea for the World Cup. Remember, some goofs tried to promote soccer for the Nobel Peace Prize...

Even within Germany in their own soccer leagues, there are some tensions. Adebowale Ogungbure is a Nigerian who plays for Sachsen Leipzig in Germany. Fans there taunted him with monkey calls; he responded with the 'straight-armed Hitler salute'. That salute is illegal in Germany and prosecutors were investigating Ogungbure's possible culpability here. They have dropped the investigation concluding that he was provoked into the gesture. Ogungbure told German TV folks that he knows the gesture was 'inappropriate' but at least now, everyone knows what happened then and everyone knows what goes on at German soccer games.

French soccer star Zinedine Zidane has announced that he will retire for good after the World Cup games are over. He is 33 years old and plays for Real Madrid in the Spanish league. He had been FIFA Player of the Year three times in his career. Here's the headline for the article on the day of his last game:

Z. Z. Stops!

I promise; I have only one more soccer item today. A second-division team in the Bulgarian League - Etar Veliko - was in danger of relegation to the third division. They had lost five of seven games with ties in the other two and needed a win. So they sacrificed a lamb and painted the goal posts at one end of the field with the blood from the lamb. They did not win their next game, but maybe that's a good thing. If they had, maybe the 49ers or the Texans might try to do that before an NFL game next year. Can you imagine the PETA protests that would cause?

Finally, a note from Greg Cote in the Miami Herald:

'Australian cheerleaders have been told to cover their bare midriffs over concerns that the revealing costumes make young girls fret about their weight. One compromise evidently not being considered: hire really fat cheerleaders.'

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


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