Plaxico, Jay Cutler, Allen Iverson, Michael Vick, and Tiger: Five for Fighting
Too often we sling words and phrases about like so much mud in order to criticize our teams, players, games, cheerleaders, you name it.
However, in this edition of "Five For Fighting", allow me to deliver much needed kudos to the following for doing everything that is right in the games we love.
Of course, there are those who will not exactly expect what they are about to receive.
NEW YORK GIANTS
Congratulations for cutting Plaxico Burress and shedding yourselves of a fine example of an arrogant professional athlete who believes there is no punishment for someone so famous.
Burress carried a handgun into New York City despite being old enough to know exactly what he was doing and supposedly smart enough to know this would rank high on the list of stunningly mindless things to do.
Burress is guilty and should be slammed hard for this felony gun charge. Yes, I am aware I have just circumvented the judicial system. However, the only people who could or would for a single second believe him innocent are the same Mensa candidates who found OJ Simpson not guilty.
With NFL apologists and inveterate gamblers everywhere wringing their hands with glee anticipating the return of Michael Vick, the Dolphins made it clear they will have no interest in the convicted dog-killer.
Don't expect Miami to get a lot of company, at least publicly. Someone will take a shot with Vick and give him a job despite the fact the man has blood on his hands.
Playing in the NFL is a privilege, not a right. Vick tossed his lifetime pass away when he took glee in animals ripping each other apart for his and his friend's enjoyment.
This sadist should never play in the NFL or any other league again. Period.
Standing his ground after new Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels publicly lifted his leg on one of the few bright spots in the Broncos' 2008 season, Cutler got his wish to get out of the pigskin clown act Denver has become.
The Broncos' offense was the only reason they stayed in playoff contention for any length of time, and that draws a direct line to Cutler. Without him the Broncos would have been as powerful as a castrated pony.
Denver's defense is a dreary joke with no reason to be optimistic about 2009. Certainly they can get better in the draft and will make an attempt at rebuilding, but McDaniels already has people trusting his judgment the same way Napoleon trusted his aides when they said his boat ride to Elba was for the purpose of evening his tan.
The Broncos deserve to be mere nags this season. I might even root for the Bears at times this season. At times.
Nothing could have been finer than to see A.I. take his whiny game and exit with a pout on his puss.
Iverson is a wonderful player and has the numbers to prove it. But before the revisionist historians start tossing around the word "great", the most overused and in many instances useless word in sports, ask one simple compound question.
How many championships has he won, and more importantly, how many locker rooms has he improved with his scowling "me first" visage?
The answers are, of course, none and none. Iverson backhanded a 76ers organization that put up with his arrogance, hoping his immense talent could cover up his attitude. Which it didn't.
Lauded on his arrival in Denver, Iverson took no time at all to bring the mental level of the team down to his low level watermark. Ask anyone who covers that team and they'll tell you how much better life is there without A.I. Notice how they've become a better team and a playoff contender without him?
And then there's Detroit, convinced they could extract that talent without having to worry about Iverson's poison. When his grousing and game started to go south, the Pistons said he would be going more to the bench. He tossed a fit, the team labeled him "injured," and he's been deactivated.
Detroit may actually have a shot in the playoffs now. And Iverson is neither a great player nor one who should even be on a Hall of Fame ballot.
For being a professional athlete who doesn't use steroids, cocaine, marijuana, alcohol to excess, Oxycontin, cigarettes, or HGH.
Who hasn't fathered a single illegitimate child, been behind the wheel driving drunk with a chance to kill a pedestrian, or carried a loaded handgun anywhere, much less into a city looking to increase his machismo in front of a "posse."
Who doesn't need to open his mouth and "call someone out," "announce his presence with authority," or stand up for fellow athletes who bring new meaning to the word "knucklehead."
And who lets his game do his talking, not some bloated mouthpiece. Who carries himself with grace and style, not with dozens of swinging gold chains or baseball cap worn backward "for effect."
Who loves his wife and children, respects the history of his game, never makes a comment that could be taken as an insult, and who actually smiles when approached by a member of the general public.
And who is indeed the greatest athlete of his generation for all these reasons and more.
Veteran TV and Radio sportscaster Ed Berliner interviews reporters and analysts from every sport in audio and video at "Stone Cold Sports". http://www.stonecoldsports.com. Sit back and listen to interviews instead of reading.
Comments can be made on all interviews at "Stone Cold Sports", and comments in audio or video can be uploaded at the "Stone Cold Sports" Facebook page. Select fan comments will then be featured for international viewing and listening at the "Stone Cold Sports" web site.
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