Michael Sam– Big Gay News. No really, Michael Sam, defensive end out of Missouri recently told ESPN that he is a “proud gay man.” As expected, the media is blowing this whole ordeal out of proportion just as they did with Jason Collins last year. Collins made headlines last year by being the first active player in any of the four major sports to be openly gay, and has still not found work in the NBA since then. The difference between Collins and Sam though is that Sam is actually really good. The graduating senior earned co-defensive player of the year honors while playing in one of the toughest conferences in college football. He recorded 10.5 sacks in the previous season, as well as making 45 tackles. He will most likely be the first openly gay man in the NFL, but the question is what team will be willing to accept the media that will inevitably follow him. He is gay, but he can play, so it should not hinder any team who needs help on defense from picking this elusive player up in the NFL draft.
Marcus Smart– Other big college sports news comes from Oklahoma State star, Mr. Marcus Smart’s closet of antics. After attempting to block a dunk by Texas Tech’s Jaye Crockett, Smart went flying through the baseline and into the stands. While trying to weave his way back to the court apparently a fan had some words to say to Smart. Smart, refusing to take any of the fans mouth walked up in the stands and violently shoved the fan. Officials promptly gave Smart a technical foul but neglected to remove him from the game. Smart has been known for temporary outbursts like kicking a chair and throwing tantrums, so maybe officials were lenient with him for his history. The league looked over the replay and decided to suspend Smart for three games. The fan who admits to calling Smart “a piece of crap” apologized for his actions, making sure everyone knew he did not use a racial slur, because apparently that makes everything better. Smart also apologized to the media and his school, and it appears that the team and coaching staff are taking care of the matter in a civilized fashion. Hopefully the sophomore guard who is averaging 17.5 points per game can learn to manage his emotions and get back on the court quickly.
Lakers 4-Man Squad– One of the more strange things you will ever see in an NBA game happened this past week. With a myriad of injuries, the Lakers came into a game against the Cavaliers with only eight players suited up. Throughout the game they saw their amount of eligible players begin to slowly dwindle down even more, beginning with a knee injury to Nick Young in the second quarter. Young never came back, and then in the fourth quarter Chris Kaman fouling out, followed by leg cramps of Jordan Farmar left the Lakers with only five players. So what if another player gets injured or fouls out? Do they have to play with four? Well, the Lakers tested this when Robert Sacre picked up his sixth foul with three and a half minutes left in the fourth. According the NBA rules, a team must have five guys on the court at all times. The rule goes on to say that the last player to foul out must stay on the court and the other team gets to shoot a technical foul. Although it would have been more interesting and fairer if the Lakers were forced to play with four guys, Sacre was allowed to play the rest of the game with the Lakers, and they somehow pulled it off against the Cavs, winning 119-108.
Todd Helton– For all of you who are just itching for baseball to start back up, here is a little piece of news you might enjoy. The Rockies recently announced that they will be retiring Todd Helton’s number this coming season on Aug. 17. Helton, who retired last season after 17 years with the Colorado, will be the first Rockies player to have his number retired by the team. Known to avid sports fans as Peyton Manning’s backup in Tennessee, Helton had stellar numbers with Colorado and owns the franchise record virtually every offensive category, and was selected to five All-Star teams in his career, along with four Silver Slugger awards and three Golden Gloves. It is debatable whether he will be the first Rockies player to be immortalized in the Hall of Fame due to the reputation of his home park in Coors Field, but Helton will be forever remembered in Colorado as a player with class and the ability to hit the ball a long way.
Winter Olympics Begin– If you are like me, then you spent hours this weekend watching several winter sporting events you know absolutely nothing about, such as ski jumping, luge, biathlon, and everyone’s
favorite, curling. For the first couple of days all of the attention was on the snow flake in the opening ceremony that did not morph into the fifth Olympic ring. Russian President, Vladimir Putin was not at all pleased by the debacle, and in the Russian broadcast they even had the mistake digitally corrected. In America we briefly laughed and asked to get along with the events. So please enjoy another two weeks of winter competition and cheer on our American athletes. The Olympics will continue running from today all the way to Feb. 23 in Sochi, Russia. Watch all of the coverage on NBC as broadcasting legend, Bob Costas gives the 411 on all things wintry.