In this continuing Caster Semenya saga, which - if she’s in fact a lady, as tests will soon “prove,” must be humiliating for her, one of our favorite details is that the letters in her name rearrange to spell “Yes, A Secret Man” and some people are taking that as a sign that it’s true, she must be in fact a man. Disregard the fact, of course, that rearranging names is utter nonsense; after all, our own Pete O. Gaines‘ name* rearranges to spell “Penis Goatee,” but that doesn’t mean anything.
But the main crux of the case against Semenya, aside from the fact that she’s absolutely destroying the competition, is that with clothes on, superficially, she doesn’t bear much resemblance to a woman. So one magazine got an idea: Let’s make her over and put some clothes on her that make her superficially resemble a woman! Problem solved?
Yesterday, AdamJ mentioned that Vegas is bracing for the effect swine flu could have on college football betting lines this year, with casinos planning to hold out on releasing lines for as long as possible to make sure teams aren’t affected. Adam also rightly points out that a swine flu outbreak in and of itself isn’t any different than a bout with food poisoning or any other bug that might be going around on a team. But those types of ailments are usually few and far between. The difference with the swine flu is that it’s not really a matter of “if” it’s going to happen to your team, but “when.” And that should be unsettling to any fan whose team is a national title contender this year.
(Anyone picking Arkansas in the SEC West this year?)
In an odd way, you might say that these two teams are among those with an advantage over their competition this year. Teams that get it out of the way now aren’t going to have to deal with it later in the season, when the stakes are higher and tired, weary bodies may react more negatively to the virus itself. With the amount of, um, interpersonal contact involved in a college football game, it seems likely that H1N1 will make the rounds throughout the sport this year. And a poorly-timed outbreak could leave a team significantly weakened on a game day.
(Good luck getting girls to make out with you at parties this year, college dudes)
Plus, schools and the NCAA I assume will have to work together to come up with some sort of protocol for using players who are suspected or confirmed to have the virus. If they feel up to it, will they be allowed to play, knowing that they could spread it to their teammates and opponents?
Let’s put it this way: Troy travels to Gainesville to play Florida a week before the Gators host Tennessee. What if half of Troy’s team comes down with the virus (that isn’t so far-fetched: see Duke) in the days before that game. Do the Gators want anything to do with that team, knowing that they have Lane Kiffin coming to town the following week? Would non-infected teams have grounds for refusing to play an infected team? (I understand that’s unlikely, but it’s at least a thought, right?)
(It’s all fun and games now, Tebow, until those Crocs and that baby give you debilitating diarrhea)
I’m not trying to overstate the effects of H1N1. I understand that in most healthy people, like college athletes, the symptoms are relatively mild. But if 50 or more guys on a football team are going through it at roughly the same time, there will certainly be a difference in how they play on game day. In college football, one bad week can ruin a national title run. You figure that some highly-ranked team is going to get unlucky enough to have this get to them at precisely the wrong time.
Man, has it been a good couple of weeks to be covering college sports in Kentucky. Even the guy who doesn’t even coach there anymore is getting in on the act. Of course, I’m talking about Billy Gillispie’s DUI, which we did mention yesterday.
The officers asked Gillispie for his proof of insurance, and he said it was in his golf bag in the trunk.
Well, sure. I mean, who doesn’t keep their car insurance card in their golf bag?
“During the exit, he used the door for balance and was confused on how to open the trunk”
He’s driving a Mercedes, so there’s like a 100% chance that opening the trunk involves pushing the button on the car key that looks like a trunk.
“I asked Billy if he had had anything to drink tonight. He stated no he had been golfing all day.”
He was arrested at 2:47 a.m. Now, unless he has some of those special golf balls that light up, he had most certainly been done golfing for, oh, somewhere in the neighborhood of seven hours. Not only is that enough time to get hammered, but he could’ve slept with some random lady at a restaurant and paid for her abortion and still had an hour left over.
The report said Gillispie, who was driving, had red eyes, slurred speech and a “strong fruity smell coming from his person (possibly wine).”
What, Billy couldn’t have been slamming appletinis?
(”I’m more of a Midori sour guy”)
• Michael Vick made his preseason debut last night. Here’s a story about it. If you want to know anything more about it, just tune into the 24/7 coverage on ESPN today. Hey, at least they stopped talking about Favre for a day.
• Speaking of Brett Favre, instead of the inevitable “retirement” press conference that’s coming at the end of the season, ESPN should just air this clip of Pat Cashman from the late, great sketch comedy show “Almost Live”:
If there were questions about Semenya’s gender, they should have been asked and answered before she raced. If she was female enough to enter the race, she should be female enough to win it. She didn’t get any less feminine in the 1:55.45 it took her to win. Her gender never would have been questioned had she finished seventh, because she wasn’t too ugly to enter the race. She was just too ugly to win it.
• Former NHL coach Jacques Demers, who was illiterate for most of his adult life, has been appointed to the Canadian Senate. He’ll be traveling the country hosting town hall meetings about tuque reform.
I have always thought it’s weird when people bring up the idea of removing steroid-era numbers from baseball’s official record book, as if history can be fixed simply by ignoring it. Say what you want about Barry Bonds or Mark McGwire, but every single home run they hit counted in a real-life Major League Baseball game.
For those of you scoring at home, that’s twice now that John Calipari-helmed teams have seen Final Four runs erased from the books, although in 1996 UMass was only forced to give up its 4-1 NCAA tournament record, and not its entire season, due to Marcus Camby’s indiscretions with an agent. In this case, Memphis’ whole season is being invalidated and Calipari is about to find his coaching resume to be 38 wins lighter.
(This didn’t happen either.)
I suppose it makes sense on some level. If Rose shouldn’t have been eligible to play, then how could any of the team’s wins be valid? But ultimately, this is just a big fat case of “who cares?” Michigan vacated its two runs to the title game with the Fab Five, but what did that accomplish (other than banning the team from the postseason in 2003 for things that happened a decade earlier)? It’s not like they’re giving up anything tangible. The memory of what happened will always be there. Chris Webber isn’t suddenly off the hook for that timeout thing.
“Honestly, I don’t care,” former Memphis guard Antonio Anderson said. “We know what we did. We didn’t do anything wrong, but it is what it is.”
And he’s got a point. The rest of the team didn’t do anything wrong. Even Calipari, it seems, didn’t do anything wrong here. Derrick Rose did allegedly do something wrong, but it’s unlikely that anything is going to happen to him. He, like Camby and Webber, will go on to make tons of money in the NBA while their former teammates are told that their dream college seasons didn’t even happen.
Of course, thus far, only teams that didn’t win the title have had such sanctions levied against them. It will be interesting to see if the NCAA is willing to strip a team of a title and hand it to the runner-up if something like this happens in the future.
(This…yeah, this happened.)
So, remember how (insert contending team here) was crazy not to give up half their team to get Roy Halladay a couple of weeks ago? Well, there are at least two teams that are feeling pretty good about their decision not to mortgage the farm for a short-sighted chance at success.
• English soccer team Burnley, playing its first Premier League home game ever (and first in the top division in 33 years), did the unthinkable last night, shocking Manchester United 1-0 on an awesome volley by veteran Robbie Blake:
• Here’s more details on the odd case of Caster Semenya, who won the women’s 800 meter run by a ridiculous 2 1/2 seconds at the World Championships. She is undergoing what is reportedly an “extremely complex, difficult” set of tests to determine whether or not she is actually a she. A gynecologist is involved, so I imagine that “extremely complex” is an understatement.