Strike that (cont.)
Posted: Thursday March 1, 2007 3:44PM; Updated: Thursday March 1, 2007 3:44PM
The same problem would be true for the NFL. Can't GMs and league officials judge for themselves who are the real problem cases, and how many chances they should get? After all, the NFL isn't working with some broad population of relative strangers. They have these players under their watchful eye, and know them better than any judge knows a defendant.
Consider the case of Ricky Williams. Under this system, depending on how it develops and whether flunked drug tests for illegal substances figure into the calculus, he could have four strikes already. As it is, he can come back and play this year, if the Dolphins or some other team will have him.
Do you think he doesn't deserve the right to try to make it work, if someone will let him?
I want guys like Williams, who are no particular danger to anyone, to keep coming back, and here's why. You hear coaches and athletes say this 1,000 times: "It's not how many times you get knocked down, it's how many times you get back up."
It's good advice, and perhaps the main character-building lesson from the world of sports.
But if this rule goes through, forget about it. Now, if you get "knocked down" by your own stupidity three times, you don't get the chance to get back up. Even if the people who know you best think you deserve it. Here's the thing: the real miscreants are going to run out of chances anyway. They will either end up in jail or with their reputation in such disrepair that no team will have them. Look at Lawrence Phillips or Maurice Clarett. They show that for the wrong people, the door is not always open.
The league's GMs and coaches should have the freedom to make that call.
The truth is, guys like Ricky Williams, who keep coming back from their own mistakes, are what sports are all about: the endless quest to get it right, and do it better the next time.
This week I like
The apparent Sports Illustrated jinxing power that has been bestowed upon me. Last week I complained that Florida looked so dominant, they were taking the suspense out of the NCAA tournament. Now the Gators have lost three games out of four and may not even be a No. 1 seed.
Vince Carter's performance on Tuesday against Washington. He may not even be one of the 15 best players in the league, but when he's on he's one of the two or three most enjoyable to watch.
The Baseball Hall of Fame veterans committee admitting no new members this year. That bar should be kept high.
TV on the Radio's Return to Cookie Mountain.
Also, less new but consistently enjoyable, Tommy Stinson's Village Gorilla Head. (Which I was listening to when I typed this).
Will Ferrell, Jack Black and John C. Reilly at the Oscars.
Also, the scenes between Ferrell and Maggie Gyllenhall in Stranger Than Fiction. I don't know what it is, but the best romantic comedy/drama scenes I've seen the last couple years have actually been in these meta-movies like this and The Science of Sleep and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, where you only get a few snippets of relationship in the mix of high-concept architecture that itself ultimately doesn't work.