The Monday Show Prep

posted by Steve Bortstein -

With the 2018 Winter Games now safely tucked away into the freshest corners of your memory, allow me to remind you that is now -- once again -- totally and completely permissible to not be aware of one single sporting event you feigned an interest in because of convenient patriotism and only a passing awareness of sporting events you'd never watched a moment of before the word "Oympics" were attached to them.

I'm certain there will be a handful of you out there who will go on and on about what excitement can be found in watching the Games, and what an entertaining event the biathlon or skeleton truly is. For those of you delusional souls, I'll remind you that if you go out of your way to find the next of these events on some obscure cable channel you never knew existed, you can always DVR them in between nationally televised events in college basketball, NBA, MLB, NASCAR, NHL and of course, the always exciting NFL combine festivities.  

Otherwise, you can wait for more opportunities to wave your virtual flag and proclaim your easy-to-maintain nationalism on your Twitter handle in 2020 when the Summer Games take center stage in Tokyo where race walking and rhythmic gymnastics will be all the rage. 

Find those prelims on TV in the next two years and let me know which country has the edge in those categories.

NCAA basketball 63

NCAA hoops scandal(s) won't change your viewing habits

There are two very supposed bombshell stories that are breaking in the world of college basketball.

Involved in these stories are tales of widespread corruption, money laundering, wiretaps, illegal recruiting tactics, improper benefits, etc.

No, the Russians aren't involved. But there are e-mails, so if you're inclined to react irrationally to the very mention of electronic mail, then you'll want to pounce on this like a pack of ants onto a cookie.

According to multiple accounts in a story reported on ESPN, FBI wiretaps intercepted telephone conversations between Arizona coach Sean Miller and Christian Dawkins, a key figure in the FBI's investigation into college basketball corruption, in which Miller discussed paying $100,000 to ensure star freshman Deandre Ayton signed with the Wildcats, sources familiar with the government's evidence told ESPN.

According to people with knowledge of the FBI investigation, Miller and Dawkins, a runner working for ASM Sports agent Andy Miller, had multiple conversations about Ayton. When Dawkins asked Sean Miller if he should work with assistant coach Emanuel "Book" Richardson to finalize their agreement, Miller told Dawkins he should deal directly with him when it came to money, the sources said.

Of course, any reaction to this story will come with the obligatory mistrust of anything involved with any sort of appearance of impropriety. There will be accusations of illegal wiretapping, there will be outcry that the FBI "has better things" to do, as if the FBI was comprised solely of Mulder and Scully who are still out there finding the truth in an alien spacecraft and running from the Smoking Man.

Meantime, the bigger scandal, reportedly involving nearly a dozen Division 1 schools, is still being put together by investigators sorting through more documents than a "rumored" Russian dossier.

None of these stories are going to matter.

At the end of the day, sports fans have become quickly desensitized to scandal. They only want to be entertained, and they don't want to have to think of socially relevant issues nor do they desire to be bothered with how a player or coach got to where they are.... that is, until it affects their fandom of their favorite team and how it might influence the next piece of overpriced merchandise they'll buy online.  

And in just a few weeks from now, this image will be your most favorite one.

NOW DON'T GO CRAZY!!! This is last year's bracket!!! There is no need to download this image!!!

So in a nutshell, there’s a lot to uncover in the NCAA basketball scandal(s), and while buzzwords like unfortunate and embarrassing will be all the rage, let’s not forget that us in the media world will lure you and dazzle you with words like tradition, glory and championships as the tournament season unfolds. You may roll your eyes at all the conflicting stories, but March Madness is coming and it’s hard to ignore.

Remember back in 2013 when Miami offensive lineman Richie Incognito was cut by the team for bullying fellow offensive lineman Jonathan Martin? 

That might have been a blessing for all sides involved.

And while we're not going to speculate what Martin may have done had Incognito stuck around, but based on a bizarre event this past weekend, there is reason to worry about the safety of Martin going forward, based on a posting to his Instagram page.

"When you're a bully victim & a coward, your options are suicide, or revenge."

The image showed a shotgun, ammunition and tagged four accounts, including those belonging to former Miami teammates Incognito and Mike Pouncey. It also included hashtags for Harvard-Westlake, where he went to high school, and the Miami Dolphins.

Good news though, Martin was later released by the police and sent to a mental health facility.

The Incognito-Martin story from 2013 was one of the more disturbing ones coming out of an NFL locker room, and regardless what side of the story you chose to stand on, the issue of mental health and emotional stability doesn't just exist when one is worried about the long term effects of CTE or traumatic brain injuries. 

It can happen to just about anyone. 

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