ESPYs guests tout same old song and dance | NevadaAppeal.com

ESPYs guests tout same old song and dance

Sports fodder for a Friday morning . . .

LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul said absolutely nothing that hasn’t been said before when they stood up before the ESPYs show this week. They called for change and urged athletes to become more active socially. They said the gun violence has to stop. No kidding. Political leaders, social activists, scholars and just about everyone else that isn’t filled with hate have been saying those things for decades. Nothing is going to change because some millionaire athletes stood up before a silly awards show and made a speech. But it was great that they did it. To say nothing, to simply go to an ESPN party in their fancy suits and tuxedos, climb out of a limo and accept meaningless awards on a television show would have made the athletes look like superficial, selfish fools that have lost touch with society. Somebody had to say something. We should commend James, Wade, Anthony and Paul for their efforts. Those four intelligent and thoughtful men should have been joined on that stage by every single athlete who was seated in the audience.

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Nevada Wolf Pack running back James Butler is on the watch list for the Doak Walker Award. Offensive lineman Jeremy Macauley is among the names associated with The Wuerffel Trophy. Wide receivers Hasaan Henderson and Jerico Richardson are on the list for the Biletnikoff Award and offensive lineman Austin Corbett is among the favorites for the Outland Trophy. They have absolutely no chance to win any of those awards. It is not because they aren’t great players, great young men or that they would not deserve the awards. It’s simply because they play in a conference that is all but ignored by college football until the time it takes to fill out the sport’s bogus bowl game schedule. But bogus watch lists for college football awards is just part of the song and dance of the sport, much like the competition to win the national title. Those prestigious honors are reserved for the big-money schools in the big money conferences. The Wolf Pack and Mountain West merely exist to fill out ESPN’s schedule and fake watch lists.

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If the Wolf Pack football team does not play for national awards and championships then what does it play for? Think of college football at the Mountain West level as a big bake sale. The brownies, cupcakes and pies you purchase at the football team’s bake sales each fall go to help the other sports at the university survive. It’s why the university has constantly funneled funds into transforming the giant erector set known as Mackay Stadium into a comfortable environment for deep-pocketed fans while it doesn’t seem to care that basketball fans have to endure a Lawlor Events Center that has faded into a dated, dark and damp 1980s kitchen that doesn’t even have a microwave on the counter. So if we have to all just play along and believe the Wolf Pack is playing the same sport and has the same prizes as the USCs, UCLAs, Ohio States, Alabamas and Nebraskas of the world, so be it. Just go buy a cake and enjoy the party.

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The Wolf Pack’s 2017 schedule is extremely interesting. The Pack will play Northwestern, Washington State, Fresno State, Boise State, San Diego State and Colorado State on the road and Toledo, Idaho State, Hawaii, San Jose State, UNLV and Air Force at home. It is a challenging slate of games that will make the new Pack coach pull his hair out. Brian Polian, by the way, will either win nine-plus games this year and move on to greener pastures or he will win seven or fewer and be shown the door. Eight wins will give Polian a bogus David Carter-like contract extension and, well, nobody not named Polian wants that. That 2017 schedule (other than the Idaho State slaughter), though, should be fun.

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The American League’s 4-2 victory in the All Star game only means that the Chicago Cubs will likely win the World Series at Wrigley Field this fall since they will host Games 3 through 5. It is all a plot to create the second Great Chicago Fire and leave the city streets cluttered with ashes, paper craft beer cups and the remains of shredded and burned Kris Bryant jerseys. Home-field advantage means nothing in baseball, especially in the World Series. Saying the All Star Game has meaning because the outcome determines home field advantage in the World Series is sort of like saying a Wolf Pack player can actually win the Outland Trophy.

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Everyone outside of Tom Brady, the New England Patriots not named Jimmy Garoppolo and Patriots fans wishes Brady would just accept his four-game suspension for his role in Deflategate. But that is not going to happen and it shouldn’t. The entire situation has been a joke from the start. The NFL is getting exactly what it deserves with a silly scandal that just won’t die. A four-game suspension for letting some air out of football is as ridiculous as it gets. Brady should fight it as long as he can and show how ludicrous the NFL can be. He should take his appeal to the United States Supreme Court, form Delfategate protests and rallies throughout the country. Future Hall of Fame Quarterbacks That Are Married to Supermodels Lives Matter.

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Former Wolf Pack baseball player Austin Byler has finally shaken off the rust from his 50-game suspension and is enjoying a solid season for the Class A Kane County Cougars in Illinois. The Arizona Diamondbacks farmhand has hit .410 over his last 17 games after going 3-for-27 without a RBI to start his 2016 season when his suspension ran out on May 31. Byler, who was suspended for testing positive for using a banned substance (two of his 2015 Missoula Osprey teammates were also suspended for the same reason), hit 40 homers on a .321 average for the Pack from 2012-15. He is on a path to the big leagues and should be seen playing for the Reno Aces no later than 2018.

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Which of the current division leaders in baseball will suffer a collapse in the second half and not even make the playoffs? Probably none of them. The Cleveland Indians, San Francisco Giants, Texas Rangers, Chicago Cubs and Washington Nationals all have big leads while the Baltimore Orioles lead by just two games in the American League East. The Orioles might fall out of first at some point and not win the division (watch out for Boston) but they’ll end up with at least a wild card. The real races and excitement will be with the wild card teams.