First, we were right: There was no way the NCAA (and its puppetmasters) were ever going to let a small school win the men’s basketball tournament. We called it on March 26, and we were proven correct. Now, it just becomes a matter of when the NCAA cracks down on this iteration of a dishonest program the University of Connecticut has been running for decades. Come on … Connecticut?! No one thinks of basketball and that state in the same sentence.
Second, Tigers Woods embarrassed himself at Augusta again this weekend, but so did ESPN and (presumably?) other media outlets. Woods never had a chance in this tournament, but that didn’t stop ESPN from putting Tiger at the top of its coverage—ignoring the leaders and true talents of the event. Woods scuffled to make the cut, trailing the leader(s) by a dozen strokes or more, but he was ESPN’s top headline nonetheless. Are golf “fans” really that pathetic? Evidently.
Sidebar on this one: Woods made the cut and then withdrew, putting his ego in front of everything else. Consider that making the cut at a major tournament brings with it a lot of money, so with Woods in an injured state and completely unable to put together a truly competitive round, why did he even bother? He ended up taking away a lucrative day from another golfer out there, one who could have probably used the big pay day. Woods is a selfish prick … still.
Third, who actually is dumb enough to just buy a product because some athlete endorses it? Whether it’s Woods pimping Buicks or these silly NIL deals for college athletes, we have never understood the draw of “celebrity” endorsements. Did eating Wheaties make us more likely to win the Olympic decathlon? No, so thanks for nothing Bruce Jenner. We grew up in the 1970s and 1980s at the dawn of this silliness, and even as teenagers, we didn’t fall for this shit. Who does?
We ask this question as a new film about Nike and the Air Jordan shoe hits theaters this week. Michael Jordan was perhaps the single-most successful athletic endorser of product in our lifetime, followed closely by John Madden (think beer and video games). Yes, we’ve owned a few pairs of Air Jordans, although they were given to us, usually, due to associations with college basketball. But again, would we ever buy Wheaties because of Jordan? No! They’re gross. And we’ve never played Madden Football in our lives. Never.
Finally, to close this out with one final thought of curmudgeonly cringing: We’re tired of trash talking in sports. We’re tired of “throwing shade” at opponents. We’re tired of Twitter rim shots. “Can’t we all just get along?” What happened to respecting your opponent, in the traditional fashion, win or lose? We look forward to the NHL playoffs and that eternal demonstration of competitive spirit at the end of each playoff series: the handshake line (except when it goes wrong).