Archive for Thursday, August 21, 2003

Opinion: Ignorance is Bliss

August 21, 2003

I'll tell you right now, I love sports. It's a dirty secret, but I do.

I love watching games in person or on television, reading ESPN.com, playing fantasy football and filling out my March Madness bracket.

I love cursing Roy Williams (Satan, in my book), watching games played decades ago on ESPN Classic and debating on insignificant things like whether the Babe called his shot or if the Royals have enough pitching for the stretch drive.

When I was a kid, posters of Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, George Brett and the KU basketball team adorned my bedroom walls like paint. I wanted nothing more than to be a professional athlete.

However, since a lack of anything resembling professional ability precluded me from living that dream, I figured I'd turn to sports journalism instead. Heck, I knew the name Bob Costas as well as that of any athlete.

While watching the morbid, criminal and downright ghastly story of the Baylor basketball program unfold over recent weeks, I'm reminded why I'll always stick to straight news reporting instead.

The newest revelation coming out of Waco is that former Baylor basketball coach Dave Bliss told players to lie about their murdered teammate, Brian Denehey. Former Baylor basketball player Carlton Dotson stands accused of Denehey's murder.

As if instructing his players how to beat the full-court press or a 2-3 zone defense, Bliss told his team to circumvent the law, lie to investigators and cast Denehey as a drug dealer. A tape of the conversation surfaced last week; more incriminating tapes reportedly are out there.

Never since the missing 17 and a half minutes of the Watergate tapes has there been such outrage surrounding a recording.

Today, I'm not really sure what a sports story is. At times, I feel sorry for the guys covering college and professional sports.

Is a good sports story Lance Armstrong winning his fifth straight Tour de France? How about the budget-strapped Royals winning their division? Or maybe Cardinals outfielder Albert Pujols gunning for the Triple Crown?

These days it's not.

Today, a good sports story is Ted Williams' head, Kobe Bryant's arrest, the latest ramblings of Mike Tyson, and of course, Bliss and his sordid little lies.

And let's not forget the best sports story of all, a California double murder by O.J. Simpson. These stories are all ripe for the tabloids and are getting more ink than J-Lo and Ben.

I don't want any part of it. I'm trying to refrain from bashing sports as a whole just because a few miscreants who belong on a work farm instead of the hardwood cast athletics in a negative light.

It's tough, but ignorance is Bliss.

  • On another note: Next time you see Field of Dreams complex director Jeremy McDowell, make sure to buy the guy a hamburger. McDowell recently shot a 76 at Painted Hills Golf Course in Kansas City, Kan.

A certain reporter played with him, and after nine holes, was tied with McDowell at 40 strokes. Suffice it to say, this unnamed reporter did not shoot a 76.

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