Stover deserves to get his foot in Hall of Fame door

May 27, 2011|Peter Schmuck

News item: Matt Stover officially announced his retirement at a news conference at The Castle on Thursday and will be inducted into the Ravens' Ring of Honor during the upcoming season — provided there is an upcoming season.

My take: The numbers don't lie. Stover was one of the greatest kickers in the history of the game, and he would be on the Acela Express to Canton if there weren't an inexplicable prejudice among Hall of Fame voters against one of the sport's most important positions. It is called football, isn't it?

News item: The Orioles rebounded from last Friday's embarrassing 17-5 loss to the Washington Nationals with five straight victories to carry a .500 record into this weekend's road series against the Oakland A's.

My take: This is about where I expected the O's to be if they had been reasonably healthy through the first two months of the season. Now, if they can just get reasonably healthy, it could be an entertaining summer.

News item: Superstar receiver and part-time bull rider Chad Ochocinco claims that — for his next lockout stunt — he is going to take up lethal snake-wrangling.

My take: Interestingly, if he gets bitten, he will not be covered by the NFL's health insurance plan during the lockout, but still would be eligible to continue his coverage under the federal COBRA law.

Bonus take: No, I'm not making that up.

News item: Lawyers for the NFL and its players union will present oral arguments next week in front of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which will decide whether to permanently overturn the decision by Minnesota U.S. District judge Susan Nelson to lift ownership's lockout.

My take: It looks like that's what will happen, and then maybe both sides will huddle up and focus on getting an agreement done in time to keep the 2011 season intact. At last count, there were nine billion reasons why that would be a pretty good idea.

News item: The NCAA infraction appeals committee has denied an appeal by the University of Southern California and confirmed the heavy sanctions imposed on the school's football program after running back Reggie Bush and his family accepted improper benefits from sports marketers in 2004 and 2005.

My take: This is no great injustice since USC was guilty of the violations, but the haphazard and inconsistent way in which the NCAA has imposed discipline on other programs since then is, quite frankly, a disgrace.

Bonus take: Wouldn't you think that by now those self-serving suits would have figured out a way to punish schools for decade-old improprieties without hammering the current athletes who had nothing to do with the violations?

Related news item: Former Ohio State wide receiver Ray Small told the school's newspaper that he sold Big Ten championship rings and other memorabilia when he was on the Buckeyes roster and "everyone was doing it." He also alleged that many players got sweetheart car deals from some Columbus dealerships.

My take: So, tell me again how this revelation — coupled with the confirmation that coach Jim Tressel withheld information about his players' behavior from NCAA officials for nine months — doesn't constitute the same lack of "institutional control" that led to the draconian sanctions against USC.

News item: LeBron James' popularity has dropped dramatically over the past year, according to the results of an ESPN phone survey. The percentage of respondents who named him as their favorite NBA player fell by half since the same poll was conducted a year ago at this time.

My take: Well, that's what happens when you take a page from the Alex Rodriguez public relations handbook.

News item: One of the hot rumors of the week has talk show host Rush Limbaugh planning to make a bid to buy the Minnesota Vikings and move them to Los Angeles. Limbaugh laughed off the speculation, but never specifically denied it.

My take: It's pretty obvious that there's nothing to it. I mean, do you really think Limbaugh would take a nice Midwestern team and move it to the left coast?

News item: Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Hines Ward hoisted the coveted "disco-ball trophy" on Tuesday when he and partner Kym Johnson were announced as the winners of this year's edition of the popular reality series "Dancing With The Stars."

My take: Ward beat out actresses Kirstie Alley and Chelsea Kane, apparently without cheap-shotting either one of them during the competition.

peter.schmuck@baltsun.com

Listen to Peter Schmuck on "The Week in Review" on Friday's at noon on WBAL (1090AM) and WBAL.com.

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