Column: Slow sports weeks are sadly dangerous for stupid people

We’re doing that thing today where we tell ESPN to shut up about some non-thing they’ve sold into an uproarious controversy. It’s a slow time for sports.

The other day, I had a dream I was in Scotland, sitting next to that little squeaky-voiced guy that announces the golfers as they tee off each day at the Open Championship He had to have been around during midevil be-heading days, yelling out folks names right before the “Scottish Maiden” lopped their noggins clean off. Dude seems like he’s not from the present, is all I’m saying.

If you’re bored this weekend, try watching the Open on Sky Sports networks, a station out of the United Kingdom, if you have access to them. Just when you think you couldn’t love golf any more, listen to Scottish folks talking about the sport for hours on end.

Scottish accent: “Ooooh, what a peach of a lie!”

Once yesterday, an announcer uttered what was either half nonsense or possibly beautiful poetry: “It’s a hot one out here, the onlookers have shed their tamaracks. Vivacious boudoirs of life.”

What? Awesome, but, what? Still, awesome.

Even with the Open, some refer to Major League Baseball’s All-Star break as the slowest week in sports.

ESPN finds certain, “I’m big, loud and important,  journalism-doesn’t-matter,” ways to fill these down times. Usually the result is one of two things — glitz and glamour of something like the ESPYs or witch-hunting a college kid like Johnny Manziel.

The ESPYs cost $7 million and aren’t, for one, remotely funny, or are they relatively entertaining to someone seeking sports action during the All-Star break. On top of that, ESPN laid off some 400 employees not two months ago. But, hey, let’s overspend on a party and invite a bunch of already-ego-swollen pro athletes and watch them wear sunglasses indoors for three hours. Also, let’s get a red carpet and show everyone how our anchors are just as good at being beautiful as they are at journalism. Maybe even better?

Let’s give LeBron a trophy for getting a trophy. Hey, did the Blackhawks get a trophy in the last couple months? Better make sure and get them another shiny trophy.

The Manziel thing is just as silly on a different level. Manziel is in college. He is 20 years old. He turns 21 in December. Might as well just arrest him now, because Johnny Football likes him some party time. He’ll probably shoot somebody some day. AARON HERNANDEZ ALERT. Cuff him up inside his white V-neck.

The amount of time spent talking about Manziel off the football field is bothersome at a cumbersome rate. ESPN’s new headline pet, their new Tebow.

Some folks at ESPN, and across the country, think that their chief responsibility is to police the world’s athletes. To an extent, yes. Sure, he’s a role model and a prominent figure. But they approach Manziel coverage, holding him to a standard of an immense figure, the prim and proper, distinctive, honorable Heisman Trophy winner. He entered the hallowed, harrowed halls, a class of few, and should act accordingly, some believe. Manziel should be as sparkling clean as the royal baby’s butt, as white as his A&M jersey was after Alabama failed over and over to tackle him last year in that lovely upset at College Station.

Because Heisman Trophy winners are always pure class acts that you would trust your daughter with. I mean, look at O.J. Simpson. Classy fella.

The Heisman Trophy is something you win for playing football, which is a sport. Sports are things people play. Operative word: play. It’s a game. Games are things people do for fun. Still with me?

If I lost you five paragraphs ago, try to come back. Manziel was asked to leave Archie Manning’s prolific quarterback camp this week and rumors swirled like water in a toilet in Bristol, Conn., that the once-arrested for underaged drinking delinquent was out the night before and showed up late because he was “hungover.” Because, assumptions. It surfaced that maybe he wasn’t wasted, and the Mannings have invited him back next year. Then talking heads with similar college degrees to myself (journalism, yes I paid for that) started blab-blabbing.

On a lighter, less ranty note, the fact that Wyoming QB Brett Smith, who was also at the Manning Camp, is getting better press than a big-time SEC quarterback is pretty darn cool. Smith has the potential to do some pretty darn special things this year across Jonah Field, and darn-tootin’ if I ain’t rootin’ for him to show off as one of the best quarterbacks in college football. Hell yes. Go Pokes.

Smith is someone your kids can look  up to for both his playing abilities and his off-field persona. He seems like a true, down-home country boy from Oregon who goes to church and is a genuinely good kid. (Going to church doesn’t automatically make you a good person, nor am I making light of the fact that he does, but it’s refreshing to hear an athlete who doesn’t hide it while at the same time not throwing it in your face. Just a believable dude) We all forget at times that these “public figures” became that way because we watch them on TV as a form of entertainment. There is a balance. They don’t save lives, but they are, inevitably, role models. (However, I could toss out an argument that Brett Favre saved my life, self-esteem-wise when I was in high school)

Where Manziel can probably mature a little bit, so could the people who write fervent condemnations about him be humbled. As a college quarterback at the sport’s highest level, as the first ever freshman Heisman Trophy winner, there are things you probably should cut back on. Clubbing excessively in the age of the camera phone is a rather risky habit. Plus, as a star, you’re a target for trouble in an already troublesome decision making setting. So, shut it ESPN and Mark May, you consistently manage to sound dumber than Lee Holtz. Keep it up Brett Smith. Go Cowboys.

About

Brad Estes

Sheridan Press sports editor

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