Fake diamonds are not a titlist's best friend

The Flip Side

December 30, 2004

Your reaction to this story may depend on how you feel about the Arena Football League. If you think it's an ersatz league, then maybe you believe its players deserve ersatz championship rings.

Anyway, that's just what happened to some members of the Tampa Bay Storm.

As everyone recalls, the Storm won the 2003 ArenaBowl. Players received rings with five diamonds representing the Storm's five league titles. At least, they thought those were diamonds.

It turns out seven members of the team received cubic zirconia instead. It also turns out six of those seven were free agents who left the Storm after the 2003 season. (The other player was released.)

"I was in disbelief. I couldn't believe that they would do something like that," lineman Eric Thomas, who signed with Austin after the 2003 season, told the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times. "At first, I thought it was a mistake, that all of us didn't have real diamonds. But when it came out everybody who had left had fake diamonds, I was [shocked]."

Storm coach and general manager Tim Marcum said no one was singled out.

"There are players who played for us last year that started all the games that got artificial stones," he said.

An arbitration hearing is scheduled for Feb. 14.

"The fake ring makes it personal," said the Storm's 2003 quarterback, John Kaleo, a former Maryland Terrapin. "It's not a business move. We all knew when we left the organization it was a business move whether they wanted to offer us a fair contract or not. But to give us fake rings, that was personal."

Yes, personal, that's it. The Storm was just personalizing the rings.

Not only is Orlando Magic owner Rich DeVos generous with the salaries - as any NBA owner has to be - but he's also generous with his wardrobe.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, Magic rookie Jameer Nelson complimented DeVos on the sport coat he wore to a game, and DeVos gave it to Nelson on the spot.

Which prompted another Magic player, Pat Garrity, to say: "Hey, Rich! I really love your boat!"

Nice try.

The Chicago Bears don't need a new quarterback, a new offensive scheme or a new general manager. What they need is a new interior designer.

That's the premise of the Chicago Tribune's John Mullin:

"The answer lies in 6,000 years of Chinese history and in Halas Hall, the $20 million home of the Bears since 1997. One prominent member of the Bears' organization says privately, for obvious reasons, that the Bears never will win anything because of a fundamental flaw in the team's headquarters:

"Bad feng shui."

Gesundheit. Oops. Please continue, Mr. Mullin.

"The bad feng shui of new Halas Hall is in its design, materials and furnishings, all of which have a negative influence on chi, the core energy that ... runs through and binds people and all things together. Chi must flow freely in, through and around the structure or room. Very little flows smoothly or easily at new Halas."

As we all know, you can't spell Chicago without "Chi."

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