Marshall lowers bar for behavior in Canada’s court | NevadaAppeal.com

Marshall lowers bar for behavior in Canada’s court

Sports fodder for a Friday morning . . .

Wichita State men’s basketball coach Gregg Marshall embarrassed himself, his team, his university, his profession and the entire sport of college basketball this week. The Shockers coach put on an ugly display against the officials during an exhibition game in Canada and looked like a pro wrestler. Marshall, dressed in shorts, sneakers and a t-shirt, pushed his players and assistant coaches aside numerous times as he tried to get at the officials. He looked like a fool and completely lost his composure and dignity in a game that was totally meaningless. There is a time and place for a coach to yell at the officials. An exhibition game in Montreal in August is not that place. College basketball exhibition tours are supposed to be educational for the players. They are supposed to teach them about new cultures and different countries. At least that is how the coaches sell it to their universities. Marshall is supposed to be the team’s leader, its moral compass. He is an adult. He is supposed to show his players how to act when they are guests in other countries. Wichita State suspended Marshall for the final exhibition game in Canada. Big deal. They should have suspended him for at least a game in the regular season.

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It is probably only a matter of time before we see something similar in Reno with Nevada Wolf Pack coach Eric Musselman. Musselman is a tightly wound bundle of fiery energy waiting to explode. We saw a toned down version of Eric Musselman last year at Lawlor Events Center. This year, though, the expectations are going to be sky high and so will be Musselman’s intensity levels. Musselman is a guy that not only gets after the officials (we saw that every game last year) but he will also not shy away from yelling at his own players or nearly getting into physical confrontations with opposing coaches. Ask D-League coach Kevin Young or Morehead State coach Sean Woods. But not even Musselman would likely act like a fool in an exhibition game in August in Canada. He’ll save it for the important games.

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There is nothing wrong with college coaches showing emotion or arguing with officials. But it must always be done under control and with dignity. And when a coach does get out of control with the officials he must publicly apologize in a meaningful way and not sound like he is merely reading off his athletic director’s statement. But that, too, rarely happens. Coaches who act like goofball with officials almost always temper their so-called apologies with excuses. Marshall said he wasn’t proud of his actions but also said he was sticking up for his players. Wolf Pack football coach Brian Polian is the same way. Polian apologizes for his actions with the officials but always tempers the apologies by saying that his side of the argument was the right side, that the officials were wrong. That may be so. But it is missing the point. Athletic directors don’t care if you are right. But they care when you embarrass the university. Stop embarrassing your university and teaching your young athletes that it is OK to act like a fool when you don’t get your way.

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Has there ever been an athlete more perfectly created for his sport than Michael Phelps? The long arms, the long torso, the ridiculous lung capacity, the double-jointed elbows, ankles and knees and the flipper-sized feet. He’s a fish in a Speedo. Nobody has ever worked harder or devoted himself to his sport as much as Phelps. And nobody has ever been more successful in his or her sport than Phelps. Forget Babe Ruth, Michael Jordan, Jim Brown, Wilt Chamberlain, Wayne Gretzky or anyone else when it comes to the ultimate symbol of athletic excellence. That person now, without question, Michael Phelps. He is our greatest athlete ever. He has the gold to prove it. America doesn’t win a whole lot of world-wide competitions anymore in any field and gets criticized around the world on a daily basis. But we have Michael Phelps.

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The New York Yankees sure have done a thorough job in embarrassing Alex Rodriguez. The Yankees are forcing A-Rod to retire after Friday’s game at Yankee Stadium in the middle of the season when he is just four homers shy of 700 for his career. They fawned over Derek Jeter last year during his farewell season, putting him in the starting lineup most everyday and showering him with adulation and gifts when Jeter was barely good enough to make the roster as a utility infielder. The Yankees, though, went out of their way to embarrass Rodriguez. And it’s all because he sued them, major league baseball and the players’ association a few years ago. Not even A-Rod deserves that. They should have just let him play out his final season in New York in relative obscurity and then released him after the year when nobody was paying attention. Why kick him out the door during the season other than to merely embarrass him?

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It would serve the Yankees right if Rodriguez ends up with his hometown Miami Marlins later this month, hits his 700th homer and helps the Marlins make the playoffs. That would be a fitting way to end his remarkable and controversial career with some sort of dignity. The Marlins don’t really have a first baseman and they could use a guy who could start a couple games a week, pinch-hit a few times and hit a few homers now and then. And it’s also not like the Marlins couldn’t use a guy who could sell a few tickets. The Marlins also aren’t afraid of a guy who has had a checkered past with performance enhancing drugs. Barry Bonds, after all, is on their bench.

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The San Francisco Giants are treading water and about to go under. The Giants are 8-16 since the All Star break. Madison Bumgarner hasn’t won a game since July 10 and Buster Posey hasn’t hit a homer since July 16. The Giants’ lead in the National League West heading into Thursday’s games was just one game over the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Giants are now heading into a pivotal 13-game stretch against the Baltimore Orioles, Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Mets and Dodgers. The good news is that 10 of them will be at home. Check the standings on the morning of Aug. 26 when this stretch is over. If the Giants are still in first place start making plans for an orange and black postseason.

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Prince Fielder, who had to retire this week after spinal fusion surgery, ends his career with 319 home runs, the same amount as his father Cecil. The career stats for the father and son are remarkably similar. Prince scored 118 more runs, had 332 more hits, 121 more doubles, three more triples and 19 more RBI in 664 more at-bats. There is one other area where father and son are similar. Neither one is a Hall of Famer. Cecil, who once was briefly a member of the UNLV baseball program (in the fall of 1981), received just one vote (in 2004) for the Hall. Prince will likely get a few more votes when he becomes eligible in 2021 but he has no real chance of ever qualifying for Cooperstown.