It’s OK that the 49ers decided to activate Aldon Smith – as long as they’re willing to keep their options open about not playing him immediately. The kneejerk “He’s better off playing” argument was wrong when they tried it five weeks ago, and it’s wrong now, but if the rehabilitation professionals see value in it, that should be the green light the 49ers are waiting on.
We now descend from our soapbox.
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No, wait. We’re back on it, only to urge you to read this from Seth Wickersham on Rolando McClain, who may be the new template for self-aware players who see the third rail and willfully pull themselves back from it:
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And while we’re at it, Miami’s Jonathan Martin did the same thing, leaving the team to deal with unspecified emotional issues caused according to Alex Marvez of Fox, due to shameful treatment by his own teammates that went beyond hazing to outright shunning. We have not yet heard whatever explanation the Dolphins have, but I’m sure it will be either (a) spin, (b) outright lies, (c) an ass-covering exercise, or (d) one more “he should get over it, it’s just guys being guys” thing.
In other words, some NFL problems predate the development of CTE.
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The Mike Shanahan-Albert Haynesworth spitfest is already tedious, but Shanahan did say something that needs to resonate for a moment:
"When you don't get along with somebody as a head coach, or assistant coach, it usually falls under one of those couple areas: lazy, lack of passion and a lot of times lack of character. And, uh, he fits all three.”
We’re not picking a side in this argument, because we can ‘t be bothered to care about either of them, but in fairness, it isn’t always one of those three things, and it isn’t always the coach who is in the right.
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Mark Cuban gets his first look at Dwight Howard as a Houston Rocket tonight, and as someone who lost in the Howard sweepstakes, Cuban sounds almost like his own dad.
“Obviously, he made a mistake in judgment,” Cuban told ESPN. “Do I blame him? No, that's what young kids do. They make mistakes in judgment.”
Hello? “Young kids?” I remember when Cuban was a young kid. I suspect Cuban still is a young kid. And Howard’s litany of mistakes in judgment actually go back to Orlando, so he shouldn’t be all that surprised.
“Young kids.” Perfect.
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And finally, Berkeley High’s Phil Chenier celebrates 30 years on the air as the Washington Wizards’ analyst, and he really ought to celebrate by telling his broadcast partner, Steve Buckhantz, what he told him the first time met, credit Dan Steinberg of DCSportsBog:
“Back then, I was just coming out of high school and going into college, and I was pretty heavy into refereeing,” Buckhantz said. “So I belonged to the Shenandoah Valley Officials Association in Harrisonburg, doing high school games. A friend of mine at the time who was an NBA referee helped me get into the Urban Coalition League, which was a summer league here in Washington, a pro summer league comprised of a lot of local guys, but also comprised of a team made up of Bullets.
“So the Bullets had a team, and I was refereeing a game that Phil was playing in, which was awesome, because I had been watching him for years and he was really my favorite player. It was down at Roosevelt High on Upshur Street. So I’m working this game, running around, and the next thing you know, I call a foul on Phil. He calls me a stupid m-----------. So I looked at him, and I didn’t do anything. Here’s my favorite player, and I didn’t even know him at the time, so I didn’t do anything. And he looked at me, and he called me a stupid m------------ again. So I hit him with a technical foul. And it killed me to have to do that. Here’s basically my idol, and I had to whack him with a technical. It just about broke my heart. It almost crushed me.”
Shame on Buckhantz. He should have run him from the summer league game and become famous before he, well, became famous.