NFL tackled for a loss by Trump

By taking on NFL players over their anthem protests, the president shows he understands their fans better than they do

NFL tackled for a loss by TrumpThe National Football League has recast its rules about kneeling in protest during The Star Spangled Banner. As is their wont, the NFL owners made things worse, not better, with their compromise. Stated simply, players and coaches must stand for the playing of the anthem before NFL games. However, those with objections are told they…

Gambling and pro sports: a marriage made in heaven

But with so much more money to be made, the potential for mischief seems great. How do we control that mischief?

Gambling and pro sports: a marriage made in heavenIt’s been a big week for gambling. The expansion Vegas Golden Knights – home team of the Las Vegas sports books – continued hitting blackjack on their way to the Stanley Cup Final. And, in a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, the ban on sports wagering outside Nevada was struck down. Now states can allow legal…

Don’t pin the Raptors’ failure on Casey

He could’ve stood at half court performing triple salchows and it wouldn’t have convinced his players they had a chance

Don’t pin the Raptors’ failure on CaseyTeams don’t quit on their coach. They quit on each other. The biggest fraud among the reasons why Dwane Casey was fired as head coach of the Toronto Raptors has to be that his National Basketball Association team quit on him. The people who say such things simply don’t understand how a team functions, particularly…

Ah, the playoffs: LeBron’s wrecking crew act, Marchand’s licking lunacy

In the NBA, Toronto could not withstand the irresistible force that is LeBron James. In the NHL, the rule book has been abandoned

Ah, the playoffs: LeBron’s wrecking crew act, Marchand’s licking lunacyTo paraphrase that old breakup line, “It ain’t you, Toronto. It’s LeBron.” Because no one gets to break up with Toronto, the humiliation of the Raptors by LeBron James is being seen as all about Hogtown. Sad. But when you’re the centre of your own universe, you think you should be able to buy, intimidate…

To the loser go the spoils … at least when it comes to the NHL draft

Getting to the bottom is the only way to get to the top when it comes to securing quality prospects

To the loser go the spoils … at least when it comes to the NHL draft“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore all dreaming of Rasmus Dahlin.” — Words on the National Hockey League’s Statue Of Draft Liberty It was a moment of blissful self-unawareness that makes the NHL so quaint. Commissioner Gary Bettman’s wind therapist, deputy…

Slim pickings for next great Quebec NHL hockey star

Few French Canadians are prominent in modern professional hockey. What happened to the legacy of Rocket Richard?

Slim pickings for next great Quebec NHL hockey starWhile the Boston Bruins have done well enough when he was injured this season, Patrice Bergeron clearly remains the straw that stirs the Bs’ drink. The 32-year-old centre doesn’t put up Alex Ovechkin numbers but he’s the kind of difference maker every team needs. He’s helped make his linemates Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak into…

Who needs spring when you have playoffs?

Plenty of talking points as the NHL and NBA start their marathons in search of champions

Who needs spring when you have playoffs?April is best known for playoffs and spring. Seeing as how spring has failed to make an appearance so far, we shall content ourselves with the playoffs, National Hockey League and National Basketball Association variety. 1) Under Brendan Shanahan, the Toronto Maple Leafs have done most everything right. Tank. Draft well. Hire the best managers…

Baseball’s season of creative destruction

With 12 teams racing to the bottom and bonafide stars waiting for contracts, this looks to be a season of fan despair. Will the Blue Jays join the club?

Baseball’s season of creative destructionThe Major League Baseball season just began and already 12 teams have been eliminated from the playoffs. What's that, you say? We’re only three or four games into the season, how can teams already be eliminated? Yes, it’s a little early for the traditional tragic number, counting down to a team’s elimination from the playoffs.…

On thin ice: the NHL’s Canadian teams are mostly a mess

There's plenty of blame to go around but only one certainty: the nation will rally around the Toronto Maple Leafs – right?

On thin ice: the NHL’s Canadian teams are mostly a messThis has not been a vintage winter for hockey in the country that worships the game. Consider the wreckage: Canada’s National Hockey League stars were not allowed to participate in the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. The Replacements may be a swell movie, but it wasn’t a happy tale for the apple scruffs we…

Tiger Woods and golf’s moral dilemma

Tiger Woods is back and the crowds are gathering to show their appreciation, in spite of his checkered personal past

Tiger Woods and golf’s moral dilemmaIt’s hard to find someone who doesn’t disapprove of his antics away from the office. Women, in general, can’t stand him. Despite all this, we can’t take our eyes off him. Donald Trump? Maybe. But the description could also apply to Tiger Woods, the greatest golfer ever, who has made one of the more improbable…

Skipping Olympics a bridge too far for Bettman?

The NHL commissioner has kept the wolves at bay for years, but this season finds Bettman with nothing new to offer and much to lose

Skipping Olympics a bridge too far for Bettman?Don’t look now but Gary Bettman may be running out of second acts. The National Hockey League commissioner for life has spent a good deal of time pushing off the dodgy reality of his league’s place in the broadcast universe. He’s kept a marginal attraction afloat when ESPN and others ignore the league. But could…

For Olympic success emulate the freestylers

Based on the results in South Korea, Canada’s formula for future Olympic success is obvious: emulate the freestylers

For Olympic success emulate the freestylersI know it’s still four years until the next Winter Olympics in Japan. But when they start the planning for Canada’s next Winter Games contingent, might I recommend that they let the freestylers run the show? You may have noticed the Canadian freestyle skiers and snowboarders as they took on half-pipes, ski cross, moguls and…

Missing in action, missing the action in Pyeongchang

NHL players aren’t at the Olympics, nor is Russia (although Russian athletes are). And we're missing plenty of sleep to keep an eye on the action

Missing in action, missing the action in PyeongchangCall them the Missing Olympics. The Pyeongchang Winter Olympics are missing a few of the staples of previous Games. And that’s bad. And it’s also good. Let’s start with the good. In the decades I covered these events, the Winter Olympics weren’t the Winter Olympics unless everyone was frothing about the judging at figure skating.…

Baseball’s big free-agent balk

Baseball’s new success formula: Get out of the middle class for a while, sell the house, live in a trailer, accumulate credits and then buy a fabulous mansion

Baseball’s big free-agent balkWe’re told that the sincerest form of flattery is imitation. If it’s the case that teams are imitating the Houston Astros, then it’s no surprise that prominent agents for Major League Baseball players  are screaming foul about the phoney war going on in the baseball talent pool. MLB pitchers and catchers report to spring training…

Sacked: sports media objectivity is being thrown for a loss

The relationship between the covered and those covering is morphing as teams expect different things from the people who inhabit the press box

Sacked: sports media objectivity is being thrown for a lossMany sports traditions are fading away. Fighting in hockey. The phantom tag at second base in baseball. The big slow centre in basketball. Is media objectivity when covering sports about to become another vestige of the past? Could be. The death last week at the age of 91 of Red Fisher, the iconic Montreal sportswriter,…