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NY Post
New York Post
16 Dec 2023


NextImg:The latest disturbing acts by Draymond Green, LeBron James show media will never stop embracing them

Immodesty prevents me from bragging that I’ve long been comforted by a readership that places value in truth-telling — my version, anyway — literacy, beneath-the-surface thought and strong sense of right vs. wrong while increasingly distressed to discover that modern medium populism encourages Americans to choose worse over bad.

Thus it came as no surprise that last week, following NBA “star” Draymond Green’s latest suspension for thuggery, that in readers’ lives would land them in jail, that my email box was loaded with disgust for the latest illogical farce. Green’s four-year, $100 million salary is perversely comical.

They all wanted to relate some form of awareness that Green, as if there were previous doubt, had cemented his post-NBA career status as a must-hire TV presence.

The two most likely stops, they concluded, were ESPN and Fox — where the remorselessly anti-social, coarse, malfeasant and criminality inclined ex-big leaguers are most heavily recruited and welcomed for the enjoyment and admiration of modern sports audiences, known to TV network and sports executives as young men, their caps turned backwards, betting parlays until they land on ruin.

But that’s the Greg Olsen run-on short version of what the hell has happened to our sports.

Last week, in addition to Green, two more episodes of Look Out Below!

Draymond Green after knocking down Jusuf Nurkic USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

LSU’s NCAA champion but infamously disarrayed women’s basketball team shamelessly edged McNeese State, 133-44, proudly and eagerly breaking all kinds of blowout records in the scheduled mismatch.

And Empirical LeBron James, given to public lectures and scolds on American insensitivity while demanding unconditional respect in return for none, fully demonstrated his rudest side by taking center stage to stroll to his seat while the rest of the arena stood, hats and caps removed, for America’s national anthem.

In LSU’s case, the women’s coach, Kim Mulkey, paid $3.5 million per by the state school, was, as Baylor’s coach, known for humiliating opponents — picking at their sorry carcasses long after dead. She was the Geno Auriemma of the South. And LSU approved of it, so much so it wanted her to be theirs!

Against McNeese State, Mulkey had her young women throw a second-quarter shutout — 30-0 — to lead 62-12 at the half. And Mulkey, apparently with no applicable idea as to how to demonstrate the quality of basketball mercy, allowed her impressionable student-athletes to make 20 steals, just in case McNeese was hiding its 25-point shooter.

Ah, but as the late TV pitchman Billy Mays exclaimed, “But wait, there’s more!”

Kim Mulkey speaks with LSU forward Amani Bartlett before sending her into the game against McNeese. AP

McNeese ain’t exactly clean, either. Two games earlier it defeated Ecclesia College, a Bible school that turned the other cheek until it was slapped silly, 102-28. McNeese’s next game — the one before LSU — was a loss to Kansas State, 101-39. It’s like “Where’s Waldo” — find the sport in these sports.

James, known to NBA TV and the nodding, grinning indiscriminate as King James and the TV pitchman of all sorts of goods and bads (Red China slave wage-made Nike everything despite his admired activism to ensure human rights as opposed to Hunan rights).

He is an undeniably great basketball player, who, like too many other superstars, is blindly pandered to, his flagrant social fouls ignored because, after all, he is King James.

Tuesday, though paid tens of millions in American money and many millions of U.S. dollars more to solicit the product patronage of Americans, he again showed his disdain for the country that so ceaselessly indulges him with admiration.

Entering his son’s basketball game at USC he couldn’t stop to acknowledge or respect anything less worthy than he, so he conspicuously walked to his seat while the U.S. anthem played.

LeBron James at Bronny James’ USC game USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

Would he have shown similar disrespect for Communist China’s anthem, imperiling his Nike enrichments? Or if Francis Scott Key threw in a line extolling him and Nike?

When he reached his seat, he apparently wanted to be seen double-downing his disregard for evil America by milling about, his cap remaining on his head as if it were too burdensome to remove — still while the anthem played.

But it’s all good. The media’s frightened reluctance to advocate for sports as they have become unsustainable replicas of sports is surrendered to the fear of being accused by shortsighted, young yahoos as hopelessly out of step, or even worse, accused by the selectively blind of being lunatic fringe and/or — run for your life! — racist.

Look how Rob Manfred’s baseless political/racial panic eliminated Atlanta from hosting the 2021 MLB All-Star Game. But now, after the All-Star Game further decayed on Manfred’s watch, MLB has granted 2025’s to Atlanta, as if that’s not a transparently shallow apology.

But be it sports, politics, migrants, war, crime or college campus idiocracy that would relegate the country to ashes, this would be the latest good time for the advocates of practical, right-minded rights over wrongs to be heard, if not acted upon. As Billy Mays also said, “Act now! Don’t delay!”

But we’re supposed to buy what Megan Rapinoe, Marshawn Lynch, Deion Sanders and Serena Williams sell on TV — not to mention ESPN’s shared mistake, Alex Rodriguez, who, incredibly, endorses gyms for those in pursuit of natural fitness and strength.

But, as sports marketing experts will tell you, those folks don’t matter. They don’t scream, chant, knock over statues, vandalize public buildings or glue themselves to cows to protest the cost of milk.

Yep, the sell of simple, sensible rights from wrongs are too dull for the current marketplace. In the meantime, take LSU’s women parlay with the Over. And see if you can get a prop bet on King James’ national anthem behavior. Now that’s sports!

Islanders TV analyst Butch Goring on Monday made the mundane interesting when he observed that the Maple Leafs’ John Tavares, ex-Islanders star, gave himself an unfair edge on faceoffs by having his stick raised, this creating a maximum leverage shovel to scoop the puck.

Goring: The linesman “should see that he doesn’t have his stick down [at ice level],” as per NHL rules.

Moments later, with 6.4 seconds left in regulation, the Leafs tied it when Taveres won the faceoff with such a maneuver.

John Tavares (91) chases after a puck against the Columbus Blue Jackets during the third period at Scotiabank Arena. USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

Quality Control: The NFL’s game-day RedZone channel Sunday repeatedly flashed scrolled “BREAKING NEWS! — Seahawks QB Geno Smith will not play today vs. the Niners.” At the same time, RedZone scrolled that Smith is a “game-time decision.”

Good thing for Rutgers football coach Greg Schiano that RU pays hundreds of thousands for blowout home wins against the likes of Howard, Wagner and Texas State, or his recent state-funded raise to $6.25 million per based on his 86-95 record would not seem nearly as strong. But when your school is tens of millions in the hole, money is no object!

Gives-it-his-best shot publicist Fred Sternburg has been elected to the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

Anything worth doing is worth overdoing: Hearing from many readers who feel that this Italian urban stereotyping by Giants QB — for now — Tommy DeVito and pals is too cheesy, too easy, insulting and already tired. I’m leaning that way, too.

Nothing instant about NFL replays. Sunday’s Bills-Chiefs included one that ran 3:45, another 3:52.