But, I'm back this week and I can thank Steve Johnson for giving me a moment of clarity and allowing me to enjoy doing what I love, writing and talking about sports. Before I get into the picks for this week, a few sports topics.
The NY Yankees offer to Derek Jeter is beyond reasonable. $45mil over three years is more than fair for an aging shortstop who hasn't been as clutch over the past few years. Yes, Jeter is and has been the face of the Yankees and during the years that he was delivering titles, the Yankees rewarded him handsomely. Now that he's approaching 40, he can't demand the highest salary and fail to bring the team additional titles. The Yankees want Jeter to retire in pinstripes - just not at the expense of bankrupting the club.
Cam Newton and Auburn are doing the right thing by continuing the play the QB. Sure, the allegations are swirling and given his reported theft of a computer, Newton is no angel. But at this time, you have to leave it to the NCAA to sort out the details and issue their ruling. Whether they determine that Newton is ineligible after the season is somewhat moot. They can take away any awards or titles but they won't be able to take away his performance and folks, we are witnessing something special from Cam Newton.
Should colleges pay athletes for their play? In a word, yes. I'm actually surprised that so many individuals who attended college would be against this idea. Athletes, particularly at top schools, bring those schools billions of dollars/year. Through merchandising, ticket sales, boosters, advertising and bowl games/tournaments, colleges and universities are on the national stage and are using (exploiting) athletes to reap in these astronomical figures. And let's be honest, how can students really be focused on their education when they are flying across the country, playing multiple games/week, practicing 3-5 days/week and seeing themselves almost daily on ESPN? And let's be clear, Cam Newton and Reggie Bush are not isolated incidents. There are plenty of athletes at universities that either are not as prominent or not as successful, who are receiving benefits for their play. Whether that's an apartment, a trip home for the holidays, a cushy internship or even financial assistance, student athletes are getting benefits for their play. The NCAA should seriously explore the option to offer students compensation for putting dollars in the pockets of university presidents.
For the first time in several years, I'm actually interested in the NBA. There's an emerging crop of young, exciting players to watch and while the Lakers, Boston, Orlando, San Antonio and all have a legitimate shot at the title, Utah, New Orleans, Oklahoma City and Atlanta will have a say in who goes him with the trophy this year. Speaking of young players, have you seen Blake Griffin this year? His play has been amazing and all that you can say is "Wow!"
My last item is for my Redskins fans. If you didn't catch the City Paper last week, they had a great article that outlined the MANY mistakes that Dan Snyder has made since he took ownership of the Washington Redskins. As an employee, any one of these mistakes would get you fired. As an owner, you get to make the fans pay for your incompetence. It's good to know that the business world works opposite of common sense.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and enjoy the time with family and friends. Now, on to this week's picks:
NO @ Dal., Thu. Thu. 8:20PM: Sure, the Jets have been living on the edge, with overtime wins over Cleveland and Houston. However, Cincinnati has been living under the edge after blowing a huge lead against Buffalo. The Bengals continue to be the under-performing team in the NFL this year.Sun. . This will likely be a back and forth battle with the Packers making the defensive plays to pull this one out.Sun. Sun. Sun. Sun. Sun. Sun. 4:Sun. Sun. Sun. Sun.