Every football season, colleges send us hundreds of slick publicity packets touting players. This year, however, two homemade packets caught our eye. One was from the mother of Penn's aptly named running back, Sundiata Rush. The other was from an aunt of Louisiana Tech offensive lineman Willy Roaf. Could this be a trend? We'll see next season.
In the meantime: "Sundi's strength is his perseverance," writes his mom, Brenda Brooks. "He is a good motivator, has good work habits, a clean character and is well liked by his teammates."
The Roaf commendation, as penned by his aunt Mary Layton, leans heavily on his career in Pee-Wee football and on the fact that he was a choirboy at Grace Episcopal Church in Pine Bluff, Ark.: "Willy is a big, good-natured guy with the proverbial heart of gold who never met a person he didn't like." Roaf, who is indeed big—6'5" and 295 pounds—will likely be a first-round pick in next year's NFL draft. When he was 13, he served as a page in the Arkansas legislature and met one person he particularly liked, the state's kid governor, another comer, named Bill Clinton.
NHL president Gil Stein's stated desire to clean up violence in hockey is admirable, but his policies need work. Two recent incidents provide perfect examples.
When Doug Gilmour of the Toronto Maple Leafs broke Los Angeles King Tomas Sandstrom's arm with a two-handed slash on Nov. 21, Stein suspended Gilmour for eight days. Gilmour also forfeited $29,000 of his salary, which, under NHL rules, the Leafs paid directly to the league. Before Stein replaced John Ziegler as president last summer, players were suspended for games, not days. Under Stein, however, suspensions for first-time offenders apply only to nongame days; Stein's logic is that "it is not necessary to take players off the ice to deter conduct." Of course, he also is aware that fans come to games to see star players, or thugs, in action, whatever their offenses. So, while Sandstrom will be sidelined for 12 to 16 games, Gilmour won't lose a second of playing time. Adding insult to injury, Gilmour had an assist in Toronto's 3-2 win over the Kings last Saturday.
The other incident makes Stein and the NHL look even sillier. On Nov. 20, Glen Featherstone of the American Hockey League's Providence Bruins went berserk on the ice. For throwing sticks at the referee and returning to the ice after being ejected from the game, he received a nine-game suspension. Featherstone, however, was promptly called up to Boston, and when he arrived, Stein ruled that the nine-game AHL suspension translated into a three-game NHL ban. Thus, when the Bruins played at Hartford on Saturday, Featherstone was in the lineup.
Back to the drawing board, Gil.