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Odds & Ends-Volume 114


downinthevalleyWe begin Odds & Ends this week with the disappointment that is the “postponement” of “Down in the Valley”, a documentary in ESPN’s 30 for 30 series that was slated to air tomorrow. The documentary tells the story about the city of Sacramento and their successful fight to keep the Kings from moving to Seattle. The “postponement” was due to sexual allegations against the mayor of Sacramento,Kevin Johnson, that have resurfaced from 20 years ago.

“The film was initially completed in the spring for a film festival premiere, but in light of the recent, renewed focus on past allegations against one of its key characters, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, we have decided to postpone the ESPN premiere as we, along with director Jason Hehir, reexamine the presentation and content,” the company said in a statement last week

It is still unknown as of press time whether or not the documentary will air anytime soon,or at all.

I am personally disappointed because this is a story I absolutely think should be told. I’ve been here since the beginning of this saga and was amazed that the outcome was what it is now. It’s important that this documentary airs sometime because it serves as a lesson that relocation and uprooting a team can happen to any team in any town in any league. It almost happened here and I”m glad it didn’t. We had the opportunity to share that story with the rest of the world and now it has been “postponed” because of something that nobody in this region had anything to do with. How ESPN can shelve this but hire Ray Lewis, a man who was once charged with murder and someone that fans still think to this day had something to do with it, is beyond me.

By the way,I used postpone and the form of the word in quotations because I’m skeptical as to whether ESPN will air this thing and I won’t until a concrete release date comes out. If they do,great! If they don’t, the least ESPN could do is to let it be released on DVD in Sacramento so that Kings fans get to see it.

DeAngelo Williams and Cam Heyward,both of the Pittsburgh Steelers,seem to be on the NFL’s shit list when it WilliamsHeywardcomes to them wanting to honor family members who’ve succumbed to cancer.

Williams had requested to wear pink for the rest of the season to honor his mother and four aunts who died from breast cancer. He was told he could only wear it during October which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

“The same way it made you feel after you heard it — like, man,” Williams said according to ESPN. “He told me no. I’m assuming they are telling everybody else no as well. … It wasn’t about selling it. You know and I know and everybody else knows before I made the phone call.”

Williams did dye his hair pink and painted his nails that color as well,it is unknown if he will be allowed to keep them that way. He also helped pay for the mammogram of 53 women at different centers.

Meanwhile,his teammate Heyward has been fined for wearing “IRON HEAD” on his eyeblack to honor his father,former NFL fullback Craig “Iron Head” Heyward who died of cancer in 2006. Heyward has said he was told by a league official earlier in the season that he got permission to wear the eye black and his fine is being appealed.

But will he wear it again?

“That’s the goal,” Heyward said after the Steelers’ 25-13 win over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. “There have been others, and I’m not going to name any names, that have worn it to support cancer. I don’t want to get involved in it, but it’s bigger than me. I’m not going to shy away from the fight against cancer, and I’m going to support them in any way possible.”

I understand wanting to be uniform as far as the way the league looks, but to not let these guys honor a family member in a civil manner that hurts nobody seems kinda petty to me. What seems even more petty is the fact that the NFL only donates 8-percent of the proceeds of any pink merchandise they sell to breast cancer research, but that’s another column for another day.

TateTouchdownWhat’s a catch? Does anyone even know these days?

The reason I ask is because Golden Tate of the Detroit Lions had a short pass knocked out of his hands in the end zone and the ball intercepted by a Chicago Bears defender. It was then reviewed as all turnovers are and it was ruled that Tate was given the touchdown prior to halftime of the Lions’ 37-34 overtime win, the team’s first of the season.

“When you watch the play the ball comes loose, he is taking his third step, the third step is almost on the ground when the ball comes out. He had demonstrated possession, had become a runner, once the ball breaks the plane of the goal line in possession of a runner it is a touchdown and the play is over at that point.” said NFL Vice President of officiating Dean Blandino.

While I or nobody else who is reading agrees with Blandino’s explanation,one thing is becoming clear: we don’t know what a catch is anymore in the NFL and week to week it’s becoming a problem that needs to be solved sooner than later.

I think all of us watching Sunday Night Football last night are still puzzled as to what the hell the Colts were doing and/or thinking with that trick play in their 34-27 loss to New England at home.

WorstTrickPlayEverPhotoIn case you missed it,the Colts had a 4th-and-3 on the 37 yard line and lined up in punt formation,then the  majority of the players in the formation,which included the entire offensive line and punter, promptly ran over to the right side of the field leaving receiver Griff Whalen to snap the ball and safety Colt Anderson to line-up under center. The Patriots lined up as per normal. 

The result was Anderson getting tackled,but not without a penalty flag coming out for an illegal formation call on Indianapolis.

This play may have been the moment that the Colts basically exposed themselves to not being taken seriously in this game. If you ask me, this is not the kind of play you run against a team like the Patriots and a coach like Bill Belichick. I’m still,at press time,wondering why they ran it and it may cost Chuck Pagano his job. 

Finally, I have to give a shoutout to the American Athletic Conference this week. They’re not one of the big Americantime conferences like the Pac-12 or the SEC,but they have three teams in the Top 25 this week in college football,the first time in the conference’s three-year-history that this has happened.

The Memphis Tigers are ranked 18th this week after pulling off the upset against 13th ranked Mississippi at home on Saturday, they remain unbeaten at 6-0. Memphis wideout Anthony Miller had 10 catches for 132 yards and was the favorite target of Paxton Lynch,who is making a case to be a first-round draft pick in next year’s NFL Draft.

“It’s one of the biggest wins we’ve had. It may be the most important based on where we are now,” Commissioner Mike Aresco said Sunday. “UCF’s big win over Baylor (in the 2014 Fiesta Bowl) was really important because it gave us some instant credibility that year.”

The Houston Cougars are also 6-0 and move from 24th to 21st in the polls after being dominant in their 42-7 win against Tulane on Friday night. Houston’s defense was fearless against the Green Wave,allowing only 262 yards of offense. Houston wide receiver Demarcus Ayers had 283 all-purpose yards in the win.

Finally the Temple Owls are off to their best since since 1974. At 6-0, the Owls have wins against Penn State and Central Florida under their belt and are flying high. They jumped to 22nd in the rankings by beating the Knights of Central Florida. Their ranking is the first since the end of the 1979 regular season.

“I’m really proud of our players and it’s a tribute to them that people have noticed how they have played to this point,” Temple coach Matt Rhule. “I am thrilled that we have been able to get off to a 6-0 start. But I’ll repeat what I have said before, it’s a long season and I’ll be happier if we can finish the year ranked among the best in the country.”

It’s cool to see a conference that’s finding its legs get some recognition like being ranked in the polls. I hope each of these three teams can keep it up and can get their players in a meaningful bowl game.

Don’t forget to check out my NBA Season Preview tomorrow on this very site. That’s all for Odds & Ends this week!

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October 2015
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