Happy Monday everyone, here's my Top 5 for March 5, 2012 from Len Berman at www.ThatsSports.com.
- Gregg Williams will reportedly meet with the NFL today in New York. (See #2)
- The return of Tiger Woods? He shot his best-ever tour round, 62, to finish tied for second at the Honda Classic, two shots back of the winner and new #1 in the world Rory McIlroy.
- The performance of the night, Derron Williams of the New Jersey Nets scoring a franchise record 57 points in the Nets 104-101 win over Charlotte.
- Alex Rodriguez homered on the first spring pitch he saw as the Yankees beat Philadelphia 7-4.
- You're never too old! Japanese equestrian Hiroshi Hoketsu qualified for the London Olympics at age 70. The oldest Olympian in history was 72-year-old Swedish shooter Oscar Swahn in 1920.
- Alex Webster, the great Giants running back and former coach, is dead at the age of 80.
So what will the NFL do about the New Orleans Saints bounty system? It's come to light that the players were paid bonuses for maiming opposing players and knocking them out of games. At the time, Gregg Williams was the Saints defensive coordinator. He has since moved to the St. Louis Rams. The punishment should be harsh. However, this is nothing new. I remember a Syracuse football player telling me about a similar system way back in the '60s. How many other teams have been guilty through the years? Williams reportedly ran similar schemes when he was in Buffalo and Washington. We definitely need to shed light on this unseemly tactic, but the NFL has to be careful about sanctions until they know exactly how widespread it is.
3. You Can Play
There's never been an active openly gay athlete in the four major sports leagues. But the NHL is taking the lead in letting players know that they are accepted. A group called the You Can Play Project produced this public service announcement involving many star NHL players. At their website you can sign up to "Take a stand" and support the fact that: Locker rooms should be safe and sports venues should be free from homophobia. Athletes should be judged on talent, heart and work ethic, not sexual orientation.
4. Higher Education
There was a time when I thought that a law degree was required to be a sportscaster. If it weren't labor disputes, it was court cases such as the time Boston Bruin Dave Forbes was on trial in Minnesota for assault, on the ice! (It ended in a hung jury.) Now I think medical degrees are required. Mets first baseman Ike Davis has been diagnosed with valley fever. What? And Bill Walker of the Knicks will undergo elbow debridement surgery. Huh? Is there a fine line between too much information and private medical information? Maybe the NHL has the right idea when they talk about "lower-body injuries." It leaves everything to the imagination.
5. And on the Seventh Day...
Perhaps you heard about the Orthodox Jewish high school in Texas that was told it had to forfeit its semi-final state championship game because the game was scheduled on Sabbath. After a threatened lawsuit, the game time was changed. Beren Academy then won the semi-final. The final was then moved past sundown Saturday night to accommodate Beren. They fell behind Abilene Christian by 12 points and cut it to two in the final minute. But alas, it was not meant to be. Abilene won it 46-42. There are 71 high school students at Beren, 13 of them are on the basketball team. If only they had won, Hollywood could have turned it into Jewsiers. Oy, what a movie!
Happy Birthday: Former Pittsburgh Steelers 4-time Super Bowl champion running back Rocky Bleier. 66.
Bonus Birthday: Actor Kevin Connolly, Entourage. 38.
Today in Sports: Mike Bossy of the Islanders becomes the first player to score 50 goals in eight consecutive seasons. 1985.
Bonus Event: Yankees pitchers Fritz Peterson and Mike Kekich announce that they are swapping wives. 1973.
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