Column: Females Coaches in Major League SportsSeptember 22, 2016

The NFL season kicked off in the usual fashion, a number of close games, a few upsets, a touch of controversy, and a New England Patriots win, even without future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady. Tom Terrific was home with his supermodel wife, Gisele serving his Deflategate suspension. And in addition to a new Patriots quarterback, there were some other new faces along the sidelines and in the league office. At the end of last season, the Buffalo Bills hired the NFL’s first fulltime female coach, Kathryn Smith. Smith had worked for Bills’ coach Rex Ryan for seven years, first with the Jets and for the past two seasons in Buffalo, although not as a fulltime coach. At the end of the 2015 season, Ryan offered her the position of Quality Control-Special Teams.

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Column: US Soccer Releases Hope SoloSeptember 15, 2016

At what point is a superstar athlete more trouble than they’re worth? The treatment of Hope Solo, the former goalie for the U.S. national soccer team, may provide an answer. In case you haven’t been following Solo’s saga, here’s a quick primer. After her team’s shocking loss to Sweden in last month’s Rio Olympics, Solo went off on her opponents. She accused them of being a “bunch of cowards” for playing defensively and claimed that the best team didn’t win the match. If the goal of playing a sport is to win, on the former point Solo is dead wrong. Smart teams with good coaching use whatever legal and ethical tactics are appropriate given the circumstances. If playing a defensive game increases the chances of winning, and surviving, then it is sound strategy and every team should embrace it. Solo conceded as much in follow up comments.

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Column: The Many Facets of Colin Kaepernick's ProtestSeptember 8, 2016

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the national anthem as a form of protest against our country’s treatment of black people has sparked outrage, sprinkled with a small dose of support. In this view, neither is justified. In some circles, Kaepernick is being compared to Muhammad Ali, which is perhaps the greatest outrage in this entire controversy. The key difference – there are many others - between Kaepernick and Ali is the level of sacrifice each made by protesting injustice as they saw it in this country. In 2014, Kaepernick signed a 6-year, $114 million contract with the 49ers that included a $12 million signing bonus and $61 million in guaranteed salary. By engaging in a sit-down – now a kneel-down - protest, he forfeited none of his $73 million in guaranteed money.

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Column: What We Can Learn From The Ryan Lochte AffairSeptember 1, 2016

If you thought the Rio Olympic Games morphed into the Ryan Lochte saga, you can be forgiven. Lochte, a 12-time Olympic medalist in swimming - six gold, three silver and three bronze – created a firestorm that took on a life of its own, one that seemingly won’t die. By now, it’s hard to find an American who can’t recount the circumstances that gave rise to the controversy. Lochte and fellow Olympian Jimmy Feigen claimed they, along with U.S. swimmers Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger, were robbed at gunpoint on the night of August 14 during a night on the town in Rio. The perpetrators, according to Lochte, were Rio police.

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Column: Yankees Release A-RodAugust 25, 2016

Based on statistics, Alex Rodriguez is one of the greatest and most prolific players in MLB history. He is also one of the most polarizing and disliked players of his generation. A-Rod’s playing career seemingly came to an end after he was unceremoniously released from his contract with the Yankees on August 12. Because the 41-year old had another year remaining on the 10-year, $275 million contract he signed in 2007, the parties agreed to a new deal for the $6 million remaining this year and the $21 million owed for 2017. Under the terms of the agreement, A-Rod will be a special instructor and advisor for the team and report directly to Managing General Partner Hal Steinbrenner.

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Column: Golf Industry in DeclineAugust 18, 2016

A decade ago, when Tiger Woods was the best player in the world, golf looked like a growth industry. Player participation and number of rounds played were increasing, new manufacturers were entering the field and corporate sponsors were clamoring over each other to jump on the bandwagon. But fast forward to today and hardly anyone would recognize the sport. Golf participation has steadily declined. Corporate investment in the game has shrunk substantially. A number of golf manufacturers have exited the marketplace, the latest being Nike. The world’s largest sports apparel company, with over $30 billion in annual sales, announced earlier this month that it would no longer manufacture golf clubs, balls and bags. However, Nike will continue selling golf footwear and apparel.

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Column: NBA Playing With Funny MoneyAugust 11, 2016

When Kevin Durant waved goodbye to the Oklahoma City Thunder last month and signed a two-year $54.3 million contract with the Golden State Warriors, most NBA observers predicted multiple championships in the Warriors’ future. That may prove to be true. After all, last year the Warriors finished the regular season with the best record in NBA history and fell one game short of winning the championship. They lost to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers who stormed back from a three-games-to-one deficit and unceremoniously knocked the Warriors from their anointed throne. That collapse proved, once again, that games are won on the field of play, not in the blogosphere. So it would be wise to hold the champagne and parades for the time being.

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Column: PC World or Repeating Mistakes?August 4, 2016

In this PC (politically correct) world, it’s difficult to say anything that won’t offend someone. Those who rail against the PC police often make a valid case that too many of us are overly sensitive and need to lighten up. But sometimes we feed the beast. Jim Turner, the offensive line coach for the Texas A & M University football team, was suspended last week after giving a presentation entitled “Chalk Talk 2016” to a gathering of approximately 700 Aggie women. The presentation was intended to enlighten the group on the rules of football, specifically, playing the offensive line. But unfortunately for Turner and co-presenter Jeff Banks, the Aggies’ tight ends coach, the talk made headlines for all the wrong reasons.

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Column: The Evolution of The Olympic GamesJuly 28, 2016

The Summer Olympic Games will open next week in Brazil with the usual pomp and circumstance. But in addition to exemplifying all that’s right about athletic competition, the Games will illustrate what’s wrong with the Olympics as they exist today. Start with greed, political corruption, financial excess, doping and environmental disaster, to name a few of the ills that beset the Olympic Movement. Then add disease and security. Brazil may not be where the Zika virus originated, but according to the World Health Organization it’s one of 23 countries where the disease, which is linked to birth defects in babies, is present and spreading. As a result, a number of athletes have chosen not to participate in this year’s Games and a number of fans are staying home. And no one knows if security at the Games will be sufficient, even after the government recently gave Rio an additional $844 million for security costs.

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Column: Pat Summitt's Definite DozenJuly 21, 2016

When former Tennessee women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt passed away last month at the age of 64 from early onset Alzheimer’s, the world lost not only the greatest coach in the history of the sport, but a giant of a human being. Pat’s on-court accomplishments, many of which may never be exceeded, have been chronicled for posterity, but it’s what she stood for off the court that she valued most. Herewith are “Pat Summitt’s Definite Dozen,” rules she lived by and imparted to her players. They deserve to be remembered and repeated forever, by athletes and non-athletes alike.

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