Wait a second …
MLB demanded the return of its $5,000 donation to the campaign of Mississippi Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith after she made a comment about a “public hanging” that was deemed racist and the revelation that she attended a segregated high school.
Wait. MLB donates to political campaigns? Regularly, tens of thousands of dollars, too. On whose instructions? The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball’s Political Action Committee. Huh?
Why does MLB have/need a political lobby? Rob Manfred’s political operatives donated five grand, the legal maximum, to her campaign in exchange for what? Money for nothing?
Was this donation to a candidate from a state that doesn’t have a big league team designed to buy influence or silence? One or both are what five grand donors expect in return.
Or does MLB’s political lobby buy 50-state protection of its Federal antitrust exemption?
Turns out MLB’s explanation on this one doesn’t conform to submitted facts. MLB claimed it made the donation in a one-shot deal, to attend a single fund-raiser “MLB lobbyists were asked to attend.”
But public records show MLB donated $2,500 twice to her campaign, months apart.
Regardless, for $5,000 MLB could have gifted Sen. Hyde-Smith two front row seats to a Yankees home game. Always plenty available!
On the subject of curious, wait-a-second donations, last week Rutgers observed Giving Tuesday with two mass email solicitations.
One was from and for the athletics department, no doubt in great financial need as its Big Ten football team has created a $35 million operations deficit, a hole so deep that taxpayer and student subsidizers can’t see its bottom.
OK, so you can give to RU athletics to throw a shovel or two of dirt into that hole, or …
The other solicitation was on behalf of non-athletic scholarship RU students, specifically those in a bad way. Kerri Wilson, an RU director of housing:
“At Rutgers University many students experience food insecurity. This can mean skipping meals or eating lower-quality food that doesn’t provide the nutrients they need to fuel their minds.
“Each day I see students in need. Students who are uncomfortable asking for help. The Rutgers Student Food Pantry provides more than just a convenient, dependable source of groceries for the week …
“Rutgers seeks to provide educational opportunities to students regardless of their economic background or income level. On a full stomach, students stand a better chance to excel, create and thrive at Rutgers.
“Help scrap student hunger by making a gift today!”
Starving, undernourished Rutgers students? Forgive my indelicate cynicism, Ms. Wilson, but I hope you spread that missive throughout RU’s Athletic Department. After all, since 2012 RU has burned tens of millions to sustain its deadly Big 10 football fever. But that’s RU’s No. 1 priority.
Even the low end is costly. In 2016, RU paid its football-only weights training coach $260,000, roughly twice as much as full-time professors.
Malnourished students? Truly sorrowful. But with the reminder that charity begins at home, begin with RU’s athletics department.
Players educated at school of hard Glocks
Small wonder big-time college coaches are wary of media. What if they were asked a good question?
What would St. Nick Saban say if asked why so many of his recruits are arrested, sometimes more than once. Alabama’s Reuben Foster, last week released by the 49ers after a second domestic-assault charge, was then quickly embraced by the whatever-it-takes ’Skins. Foster had previously pleaded guilty to possession of an assault rifle.
That’s another thing. Why are so many recruits — as in countless — arrested on or near campus carrying deadly weapons?
Isaiah Crowell, now a Jets running back, was enrolled at Georgia when arrested for felony possession of firearms — one with its serial number scraped off — “in a school zone.”
Why would the most physically imposing men on campus need to carry deadly weapons? What do they anticipate? That kind of trouble? Are they exclusively defensive weapons, used only to return fire? From whom? Is there a beef with the chess club? “I’m off to college, with one in the chamber!”
Fox’s Thom Brennaman is unafraid to speak impolitic truths during NFL telecasts. During Sunday’s Giants-Eagles, he followed an insert from Browns-Bengals with the rumor that recently fired Browns coach Hue Jackson may replace Bengals coach Marvin Lewis:
“Could Hue Jackson possibly be in line to take over for Marvin Lewis? I live in that town [Cincinnati], and I’d venture to say if that happens they might not have 15 people at that stadium …
“I’m not bashing Jackson, but when you go 15 years with the same head coach and you don’t win a playoff game [Lewis’ Bengals], hiring a guy who has won one game in the last two years would be tough to take.”
In 15 seasons, Lewis’ Bengals were 0-7 in the postseason, including that last-seconds field goal loss to the Steelers three seasons ago, after Vontaze Burfict then Adam “Pacman” Jones were penalized a total of 30 yards after one play for out-of-control conduct — the most inexcusable loss in playoffs history.
Knight doc sees light of day
ESPN’s moral compass may as well be a windsock.
For years its Bobby Knight-goes-nuts action reels were regular “SportsCenter” attractions.
In 2008, ESPN hired him to analyze games. Presto! Those Knight-goes-nuts reels disappeared from ESPN.
Only after Knight was not retained, in April 2015, did those highly disturbing, even historic moving images of Knight’s violent, wild-eyed behavior return on ESPN.
And now ESPN’s presenting an independently produced, highly unflattering documentary about Knight — a program that would not be seen on ESPN had Knight still been employed by ESPN.
But such contempt for integrity is nothing new. Just another reminder that you can’t shame the shameless.
So Spurs’ coach Gregg Popovich says the 3-point shot is destroying the NBA — shoving the game further from a reliance on strong, two-way team play, making games mindless, shooting gallery farces. Agreed. But even if he’s the first NBA coach to speak that self-evident truth, what kept him?
Now that running to first base is optional and commissioner Rob Manfred encourages kids to pose near home plate, reader Ted McNabb suggests that all ground-rule doubles — actually, “by-rule” doubles — “should be reduced to ground-rule singles.”
What Nike money can do: Michigan amd Oklahoma football teams wears jerseys carrying a Nike logo depicting a man — Michael Jordan — playing basketball.
Reader Jim Mitchell: “I watched the CFL’s Grey Cup championship. Canadian football is weird. Do you know they call putting it on the ground a ‘fumble’?”