- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 30, 2000

I'm going to take it one thought at a time today:

The Vince McMahon-led XFL opted to be edgy with its team nicknames, starting with the New York-New Jersey Hitmen.

Fortunately, the XFL's insensitivity has not elicited objections from Tony Soprano's family yet.

It probably is time for Houston's Cynthia Cooper to rethink her retirement plans after she claimed the WNBA Championship MVP award yet again.

Ken Griffey Jr. confirms that money can't buy a person happiness.

Bill Barry of Huntsville, Ala., writes: "Three strikes and you're out in baseball. Washington has two strikes against it. Two versions of the Senators already have died, and there is no need to try again. Nothing has changed."

Response: Not to be picky or anything, but the region's demographics have changed significantly since the second installment of the Senators departed in 1971. The area is teeming with so many deep-pocketed people that it is able to support the WNBA Mystics.

Dick Butkus, coach of the XFL Chicago Enforcers, says, "The [team] color is bruise. It's black and blue."

Dennis Rodman, who sometimes seems obsessed with his nudity, would be a natural on the next "Survivor."

I'm surprised Richard Hatch did not rip off his clothes in celebration after winning the $1 million check on "Survivor."

Maurice Marsolais of Fairfax, Va., writes: "So Jenny Thompson posed nearly topless for Sports Illustrated. Well, we need to call the Legion of Decency and have an investigation. Maybe SI can be placed on probation for six months. Some people, mostly males, pretend to go to the beach to soak up the rays. Me, I don't pretend. I look at the women in their swimsuits, which seem to shrink a little more every summer."

Response: More and more enlightened men, to avoid the hint of objectifying women, are wearing blindfolds at the beach.

The men, excluding Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi, have become incidental to the women at the U.S. Open. Sorry. Gustavo Kuerten, a two-time French Open champion, does not resonate with the masses, although he does have the heavy-duty hair thing going in his favor.

Isaiah Rider, who leads the NBA in misunderstandings, has resurfaced with the Zen-happy Lakers.

Given his propensity to wear out his welcome wherever he lands, Isaiah Rider probably is going to require massive doses of incense and Zen to coexist with Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant.

News flash: Tiger Woods, who obviously plays golf better in the dark than under the lights, is not perfect.

If you recall, golfing in the dark was O.J. Simpson's defense.

Dr. Herman F. Kraybill of Olney writes: "Your article on the Confederate flag controversy was a sickening repetition of other similar articles in the media. The NAACP and SCLC are out of line with the NCAA, and their arrogance is repulsive."

Response: The NAACP and SCLC are not trying to be arrogant. They merely are trying to stay in the political game, if only on the margins. Their leaders have to eat, too.

Hide the women and children; the college football season is under way.

Penn State quarterback Rashard Casey appeared to be distracted against USC, as anyone in his position might be. He is competing on the field and in the courtroom, where his role in the beating of an off-duty police officer in May is to be determined.

Ryan Leaf is said to have repaired his personality, along with his shoulder, as he goes into the season as the No. 1 quarterback of the Chargers.

Baseball misses Mark McGwire as much as the Cardinals do.

Stephen Davis apparently has avoided becoming the first athlete to succumb to a career-ending ankle injury.

Larry Brown and Allen Iverson are starting to sound resigned to one another.

How are you feeling, Dennis Miller?

Some guys pick up Playboy magazine for the All-America football team.

Keanu Reeves, who plays the quarterback in "The Replacements," gives the best blank stare in the movie business. That probably is not a stretch for him.

And finally, the Wizards have rid themselves of Ike Austin, which qualifies as progress in their case.

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