Rebels could use a few superheroes on gridiron

Now if only UNLV could get the Hulk to play defensive end, the Rebels might finally be able to pressure opposing quarterbacks.

Through a licensing agreement Russell Athletic has with UNLV and some 200 other college athletic departments, Marvel Comics superheroes will be featured this fall with the Rebels’ logo and in the school’s colors on T-shirts and hoodies.

Marvel also is involved with the NBA and the Dallas Cowboys, the comic book empire taking advantage of its resurgence with the popular Spider-Man and Avengers movies.

Too bad for the Rebels the characters aren’t real. The football team, which is less than three weeks from beginning preseason practices, could use Captain America and Iron Man. Black Widow in her skin-tight leather outfit would distract UNLV’s opponents.

Putting Hulk on the field could be a problem, though. Too many personal foul penalties. But perhaps a little anger is exactly what the Rebels’ long-suffering program needs.

■ GOING BATTY - Las Vegan Bryce Harper doesn’t have to worry about whether his Washington Nationals teammates are standing behind the 19-year-old budding star.

After the flap with Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen on Sunday over too much pine tar on Harper’s bat, the Nationals’ Adam LaRoche asked an unsuspecting Harper to sign a different bat, according to MLB.com.

Then LaRoche added the words, “To my hero, Ozzie, love you,” and Nationals players placed pine tar all over the bat and sent it to Guillen.

“It was funny,” Guillen told MLB.com. “I’ve got a few friends on their side. All those guys were making fun of me. I found out later they made the kid sign the bat.”

■ SOME LIGHT READING - Michael Morse’s fiancee can’t put down the famously racy book “Fifty Shades of Grey,” and she even reads it aloud to the Nationals’ first baseman/outfielder.

“I was like, ‘Put that away. You can’t be reading that,’ ” Morse told The Washington Post. “I felt like she was cheating on me.”

In front of him, too.

“I just couldn’t believe,” Morse said, “she kept reading it.”

■ PROBLEM SOLVED – Penn State’s students know they have an image issue – the nationally televised protest over Joe Paterno’s firing not playing well in living rooms across the country.

So they have taken steps to fix the problem, changing the name of “Paternoville” – where students camp out before football games - to “Nittanyville.”

“It was clear that anything with Joe’s name on it was a big deal,” Jeff Lowe, Nittanyville’s vice president and a Penn State senior, told The New York Times.

Yes, a coach who allegedly enabled a child molester to roam free is a concern.

■ HOW DO YOU REALLY FEEL? - NBA commissioner David Stern must be feeling heat from owners, who don’t like their highly paid stars playing for the U.S. Olympic team rather than resting and avoiding injury.

Stern said it might be time to ask only those 23 and younger to play on the national team.

To which 33-year-old Kobe Bryant told reporters, “It’s a stupid idea.”

Well, OK, then.

COMPILED BY MARK ANDERSON LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL

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