Sunday - Feb 17, 2019

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Remember just one year ago?

What a summer it was in the sports world, from Barry Bonds to Michael Vick to Tim Donaghy to the New York Yankees. It was a frustrating time, it was a puzzling time. It was interesting, I admit, but sometimes things happen with these ego-laden big-headed professional athletes that makes avid fans shake their heads in disgust.

Now if I were to mention steroids, of whom would you think? You might think of former World Wrestling Entertainment wrestler Chris Benoit, who, following an attack of supposed “roid rage,” proceeded to strangle his wife and suffocate his son before taking his own life in a sad string of events for any wrestling fan. Or maybe you think of the Tour de France, which had all sorts of drug and doping problems in its most recent running as the leader at one point was disqualified for steroids.

But when someone says “steroids,” Bonds is a name more likely mentioned. The Bonds saga all summer long was a hard pill to swallow (no pun intended). Each and every one of his at-bats up until he hit home run No. 756 was televised live on ESPN. And, oh yeah, it’s possible the man did steroids a few years back and may have forever tainted the beautiful American game of baseball. I know the more I saw Bonds this summer, the less I wanted him to reach 756 home runs and pass Hank Aaron on the all-time list, quite possibly the sport’s most stoic record. He did it, but now he holds a record that may have an asterisk next to it for years to come.

Switching sports, how about Vick and his situation? Vick, maybe everyone’s favorite quarterback/running back, (his jersey sales tell it all) led a dog-fighting ring that has put him in a terrible position and his NFL career in serious jeopardy. Vick, currently under mounds of scrutiny, remains in jail while his Atlanta Falcons will soon embark on their second season without him. Good luck to Matt Ryan, though.

While Bonds and Vick may have been household names to most before this summer, Donaghy likely wasn’t a name sports fans had heard of before last July. Donaghy resigned from his role as an NBA referee after reports surfaced that he had bet (sometimes upwards of $10,000) on games he officiated during his last two seasons, and that he made calls affecting the point spread in those games. Betting on sports will not go away by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s sad when officials make a little money on the side by altering the outcome of games. It’s a whole heck of a lot easier to explain to a head coach why a player received that foul than to explain yourself and your betting habits to a federal grand jury following an indictment.

Sports are in my blood. I love sports, and nothing I can see will change that feeling – even events like these. I’m sure you readers feel similarly. Even though Bonds is not one of my favorite players, I still enjoyed my summer by watching baseball. Watching the Yankees fall so far behind and then catch up in both the American League East and Wild Card races was interesting. Scoreboard-watching in June and July is fun, and I’m not afraid to admit that. The NFL still has my interest, and so does the NBA. I will remain a sports fan through and through, but some of the events that occurred between May and August of 2007 made a person like me think.

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