It was only last week that R-J colleague Ed Graney wrote about NFL players faking injuries to stop the clock and slow the league’s increasing number of hurry-up offenses. Some people consider that gamesmanship, Ed said. Others think it’s cheating.
Or, as NASCAR refers to it, “manipulating the outcome.”
There has been a lot of manipulating outcomes in sports recently.
There was so much manipulating the outcome in NASCAR’s last “regular-season” race at Richmond, Va., that when it was over, Ricky Bobby was leading the points.
Did boxing judge C.J. Ross try to manipulate the outcome of the big fight between Floyd Mayweather and Canelo Alvarez at the MGM Grand Garden on Saturday night by dubiously scoring it a draw? Depends on who you ask.
“I’m not going to talk about the judges. Things happen in boxing,” Mayweather said afterward, taking the high road.
Floyd had another $41.5 million to count, so it’s understandable why he would drive the Pikes Peak Hill Climb course.
But if the guy across the street bet $100 on Floyd to win by unanimous decision, it’s just as understandable why he might believe judge C.J. Ross manipulated the outcome.
(In a related note, boxing ambassadors given to hyperbole might have been trying to manipulate the outcome of the pay-per-view buys when they kept referring to Mayweather vs. Alvarez as “the biggest fight in boxing history.” I seem to recall Frank Sinatra requesting a pass so he could shoot photographs of Ali-Frazier I for Life magazine, which seems just a tad bit bigger. Also, there was that Thrilla in Manila thing involving those two.)
In college football, Sports Illustrated says Oklahoma State football players received money and passing grades and drugs and sex from recruiting hostesses. That might not be manipulating the outcome of the Kansas State game, but it’s definitely manipulating something. Especially that last one.
I arrived home from the UNLV football game Saturday night just in time to witness an Arizona State player manipulate the outcome against Wisconsin by lying on the football as time was running out, thereby preventing Wisconsin from spiking the ball, thereby preventing Wisconsin from attempting a chip-shot field goal that would have won the game.
In baseball, there is Ryan Braun.
These are some of the reasons I am considering becoming a pro golf fan.
During Friday’s BMW Championship in the Chicago suburbs, Tiger Woods was penalized when a TV replay showed his ball moved when Tiger attempted to remove a twig or other debris from behind it. Afterward, Tiger claimed his ball only “oscillated.” It was nothing, he said.
Well, maybe if that happens when one is trying to sneak in a quick nine at the local muni before the sun sets it is nothing. On the PGA Tour, it’ll cost you a couple of strokes.
A man from the Tour named Slugger White apparently considers an oscillation and a movement one and the same because he penalized Tiger two shots. And if the Tour is willing to punish Tiger Woods — its hottest commodity, the guy who stirs the Arnold Palmer, the guy whose presence in the final pairing on Sunday guarantees boffo TV ratings — two shots, then you best leave the ol’ foot wedge in your golf bag.
Plus, I am sure that even if you don’t follow golf, by now you have seen highlights of Phil Mickelson’s vertical jump after he sinks a putt to win a major. Suffice it to say he’s not having what Ryan Braun is having.
In boxing, things happen; while golfing, balls move. But they’ve got this thing called an honor code in golf, and that is why you’ll never see a guy in a striped shirt walking the 16th fairway at Augusta or St. Andrews or even at TPC Deere Run near the Quad Cities, home of the John Deere Classic.
During the 1925 U.S. Open, the great Bobby Jones was the only one who saw his ball move when he addressed it in the rough; Jones called a penalty on himself; Jones lost the Open in a playoff.
Afterward, when a sportswriter wanted to praise the man for his honesty and integrity, Jones told him to put away his pencil. “You might as well praise me for not robbing banks,” he said.
Gaylord Perry, take note: I’ve read about golfers calling penalties on themselves for carrying an extra driver, for playing a nonapproved ball, for accepting advice from another player, for signing an incorrect scorecard.
The time Vijay Singh signed an incorrect scorecard at the Indonesian Open, they kicked him off the Asian Tour, after which, the story goes, he was forced to take a job as a club pro in Borneo.
They don’t banish NASCAR drivers who spin out on purpose to the short tracks of Borneo. Same with the other sports. If they did, I’ll bet there would be a lot less manipulating of outcomes, and then Ryan Braun probably would lead the league in warning track fly outs.
Las Vegas Review-Journal sports columnist Ron Kantowski can be reached at email@example.com or 702-383-0352. Follow him on Twitter: @ronkantowski.