The major upshot from the burgeoning tennis match-fixing scandal, other than the realization that people really will bet on anything even without the help of Draft Kings or Fan Duel, is that the sport will be damaged in no way, even if turns out that Roger Federer and Pete Rose were pen pals.
And you know why this is so, even after all the hand-wringing over the realization by tennis fans that they are like all other sports fans in that they almost prefer not to be able to trust their own eyes? Because no other sport ever collapsed because of a massive betting scandal. Not college basketball, not college football, not boxing, not baseball, not soccer and definitely not FIFA, IOC or NFL venue bids. People decide to like what they like, and you can’t ever embarrass them off it because corruption, while decidedly not good, never seems to be a sufficient deterrent to the audience.
You know why we know this? Because there is a segment of the NFL fan population that believes that every game is run by a mysterious hand that has access to officials’ flags, eyes, and even in the Saturday night Arizona Pie Fight, coins. It has undermined the image of the league, its striped hirelings and in an individual case, the New England Patriots.
Yeah, as though “undermining” is an actual thing.
You see, ratings and revenues remain high, and Las Vegas hasn’t closed, and even a full-on assault from the federal government on daily fantasy sites haven’t deterred the customer base. People’s tastes are indomitable, even when they are told to their faces that what they see may not be genuine, or better yet, when they convince themselves of same.
Now we’re not coming out in favor of match-fixing necessarily, although the chaos of a genteel sport like tennis in alleged ruins does have its charms. And we surely approve of the journalistic toils of Heidi Blake and John Templeton of the BBC and BuzzFeed UK in helping uncover the current mess. Well done to them and all their colleagues. The public is entitled to know when it is being defrauded.
But they seem insufficiently bothered by that fraud to actually abandon their prejudices toward some games and against others. Paths of amusement are chosen and rarely abandoned, and never in large enough numbers to actually matter to the hyenas who run the sports and tend to look the other way when something hinky is uncovered.
All we’re saying is that the only way to kill interest in a sport is to either ban it in all its forms, take away its industrial base of young children and delusional parents, or show that the sport could kill you. Except that even that last one doesn’t hold water in football, where you could actually harvest enough CTE to build the main lobby of Inglewood’s much-anticipated Palazzo Di Kroenke.
So in the end, we are brought back to the realization that while corruption is bad, it is not necessarily corrosive. In other words, while we are endlessly gullible at times like this, we still prefer it to abstinence.
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In another example of “you’ll get used to it, you moral weaklings and ethical bankruptcies,” this on the universal designated hitter from the noted pianist, morris dancer and arsonist, Grant Brisbee of McCovey Chronicles.
The lesson: Give up. Nothing matters. I like it.
[RELATED: POLL: Should National League adopt DH?]
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In other pointless rantage, it looks like Eric Mangini has won Chip Kelly’s heart sufficiently to hold his job as the 49ers defensive coordinator. Thus, our parlor game of watching ESPN’s coaches’ list to see how long it would take for someone to notice that Mangini was not and never was the head coach (11 days, well played to you, gents) seems at least mildly misplaced. As it turns out, it was just diffused prescience.
As though that could get you a pork chop if you were shopping.
[RELATED:Report: 'Strong possibility' Mangini returns as 49ers DC]
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By the way, since he’s now going on six days without one, I am in favor of Kelly not doing an introductory press conference . . . or any others . . . ever . . . for anyone. He could be the first stealth coach in NFL history. He could actually be the first coach to treat game results on a need-to-know-only basis. He can treat this job like the laboratory he started to create at Oregon and failed to do in Philadelphia.
And then we’ll see if everyone who says press conferences only matter to the media will still think so. If they’re right and nobody cares, nobody will have to bother with the burden of listening ever again – especially when Silent Jed wants public assistance for some project. Then he can move to L.A. as part of the NFL’s gigantic Los Angeles time-share.
[RELATED: Eric Dickerson: ‘Different animal being in Los Angeles’]
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Kevin Sherrington of the Dallas Morning News is being sucked into the hideous vortex of Raider speculation, for which he will pay the requisite price. Nevertheless:
“Can you see the Raiders in the Alamo City? Not without Jerry's say-so, and it’s time he did.
“The possibilities have been discussed before, and it's always been dismissed because the NFL's most powerful man doesn't want any financial competition. Jerry thought reporters were joking when they asked him what he thought of Mark Davis, the Raiders owner, meeting with San Antonio officials in 2014. He estimated then that San Antonio is ‘97, 98, 99 percent Cowboys fans,’ a conservative guess, at that. (Houston owner) Bob McNair guesses that half of San Antonio's NFL fans pull for his Texans, but the chairman of the finance committee, which must approve any relocation, has said he wouldn't necessarily oppose a third team in the Lone Star State.”
“All of it is moot, though, if Jerry doesn’t put aside his portfolio. It's not enough that San Antonio fans get to pull for the Cowboys from their couches. If it can afford it, the city deserves another pro team.”
In fact, Kevin my friend, affordability by NFL standards is always, “Everything you have, plus ten percent.” Don’t ask for things you’ll regret having later. Sincerely, every Olympic host since 1992.
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Toward that end, Dean Spanos and Stan Kroenke met for the first time to discuss Los Angeles Monday. That’s in case you couldn’t figure out why the hellmonkeys were shrieking from the fourth circle of Dante’s Inferno.
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The Philadelphia 76ers are hell-bent on preserving the franchise’s record for fewest wins in a season (nine, 1973), but it can’t be a good sign when they need two overtimes to lose to the New York Knicks on a day when Carmelo Anthony goes full don’t-give-a-damn (7-for-28, his 11th worst shooting performance ever in games in which he’s taken at least 20 shots, and his worst ever when taking as many as he did).
Ish Smith had 16 assists, making him a hero to Sixers fans. He was also 8-for-28, making him a Sixer to Sixers fans.
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And finally, David Bowie’s death is noticed, as it should have been. Glenn Frey’s death is noticed, as it should have been. But a moment for Dale Griffin, original drummer for Mott The Hoople (All The Young Dudes, Honaloochie Boogie, etc.), who also loosed himself from this mortal coil Monday. So far, it’s a bad year to be a rock musician.