Falcons’ bite better be worse than their bark if Vick involved in dog fights

Admittedly, we are unabashed dog-lovers here at "Rants & Raves." It’s one of the few soft spots we have in our cold and callous heart, this affection for those wide-eyed, panting creatures who love us unconditionally (not to be confused with baseball groupies, who have a few conditions). So when we read stories about professional athletes possibly engaging in dog fighting, we can’t help but show our teeth.

Grrrrrr:

As the investigation continues into alleged dog-fighting incidents at the Virginia home of Michael Vick, if it can be demonstrated in ANY way that the Atlanta Falcons quarterback took part in, helped facilitate or condoned an act that, in our mind, is only less disgusting than only rape, child-molestation and murder, then team management must put him down — contractwise.

That is, if the legal system doesn’t get him first and sentence him to an insufferable cage life of his own. …

• Barry Bonds is saying he might not share his horde of souvenirs with the Baseball Hall of Fame once he breaks Hank Aaron’s career home run record. "Doesn’t everybody have the right to do it or not do it?" Bonds asked last week.

True. And there are those baseball fans who wouldn’t want to see Bonds represented in Cooperstown in any fashion, anyway.

But in a peace gesture, the tainted tater-hitter did offer to share jars of the "cream" and the "clear" with the Hall, as well as one of personal trainer Greg Anderson’s orange prison jumpsuits. …

• The heated debate continues regarding the decision to continue the "Chasing Hank Aaron" graphic atop the front page of the Review-Journal’s Sports section. Reader feedback is running about 6-to-1 against, although as long as Major League Baseball acknowledges Bonds’ career home run total — thus, Bonds closing in on Aaron — the chart will stay, according to our pigheaded boss.

"If I was Hank Aaron," said one angry, anonymous reader who phoned Sunday, "I’d sue the R-J for putting my face so close to that of a cheater."

Ah, the things people worry about. …

• One reader — an admittedly diehard Padres fan — called to say that rather than honoring Bonds we should be charting San Diego reliever Trevor Hoffman, who needs just three more saves to hit 500 for his career. Hoffman already is baseball’s all-time saves king.

"How about giving our kids a role model to cheer for instead of a cheating jerk?" the caller suggested.

Well, the buzz for saves isn’t really there. But in a perfect world, Hoffman would get save No. 500 by striking out Bonds for that final out. Unfortunately, the two don’t have the chance of facing each other until June 25, and by that point Hoffman should be well past 500. …

• Think the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant has some ‘splainin’ to do to general manager Mitch Kupchak after his published comments about the team needing to bring back Jerry West and give him full control of the organization — or else trade Bryant to another team?

Although Bryant on Monday denied that he asked to be shipped elsewhere, you have to think Kupchak, even briefly after reading those comments, wondered whether a player who pops off is worth the points he drops in.

Truth is Bryant isn’t wrong about how the Lakers would benefit by bringing back the sage West, if the former Memphis Grizzlies GM wants to come back. But to throw that out publicly? That’s just asking for unneeded grief — even if you are the team superstar. …

• ESPN Nation’s sports question this weekend is worth noting because of the changing dynamics of the American sports landscape. Asked which Memorial Day Weekend sporting event people were most excited about — the NASCAR Nextel Cup race, the Indianapolis 500, the NBA championship series, UFC: (Chuck) Liddell vs. (Quinton) Jackson or the Stanley Cup Finals — Saturday night’s Ultimate Fighting Championship light heavyweight championship at the MGM Grand Garden held a 32 percent to 30 percent edge over the two NBA series featuring the Cleveland Cavaliers-Detroit Pistons and San Antonio Spurs-Utah Jazz.

Here’s a hint to NBA commissioner David Stern that it’s all right for his players to mix it up, if, for no other reason, than to improve sagging TV ratings. …

• So UFC star Liddell reportedly partied hard the week leading up to his title defense against Jackson — and even Saturday night, shortly after he was pounded to a pulp in a first-round loss?

It’s all good, folks. Liddell was just prepping for his next opponent: Lindsay Lohan.

Joe Hawk is the Review-Journal’s sports editor. He can be reached at 387-2912 or jhawk@reviewjournal.com.

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