- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 28, 2009

HE SAID WHAT?

“I was like to myself, ‘He said what?’ ” - Albert Haynesworth on agent Chad Speck’s phone call informing him of the Redskins’ seven-year, $100 million offer

MISGUIDED MISDIRECTION

As nightmarish as the Wizards’ season has been, it seems the team should be willing to do anything to burnish its image. Its handling of Gilbert Arenas‘ return, however, suggests otherwise.

Arenas was back at practice the day after the All-Star break and has been taking part in most of the drills, including five-on-five.

One small problem: The team didn’t tell anyone. What’s worse - Ed Tapscott deliberately misled the media for more than a week, telling them that Arenas was doing only individual work. Finally, the coach came clean on Tuesday night. He said Arenas, not wanting additional pressure, had asked Tapscott and teammates not to divulge his activities.

Additional pressure? Arenas has yet to play a game since signing a six-year, $111 million contract last summer. For such a sum, he should be more than willing to shoulder some stress.

And how long did Tapscott and Co. think they would get away with not telling anyone that Arenas was on the way back? Perhaps they thought he would be able to sneak into the lineup one day in late March and no one would notice.

The team should have come clean the moment Arenas was back on practice floor - if not before. If nothing else, it could have drummed up interest in the last month of the season. Considering how the first four months have gone, honesty was the best policy.

TWT Five ” Ways for leagues to cut costs

Instead of laying off employees, there are plenty of other ways leagues can save money:

1. NFL - Bring back two-way players. With rosters reduced, teams will be able to slash payroll.

2. MLB - Get rid of an inning. Nine is such an arbitrary number, anyway. One fewer inning a game will yield significant savings in staff salary and utility bills.

3. NBA - Instead of risky guaranteed contracts, pay players piecemeal - $4K for each point or rebound, $3K an assist, etc. This system would have saved the Knicks from a certain $20.8 million contract this season.

4: NHL - This one’s easy - too many teams. Without franchises in Phoenix, Columbus, Nashville, Tampa, Ottawa and Atlanta, transportation costs will be lower. Also, teams must bus to games within 300 miles. Remember “Slap Shot”?

5. NASCAR - Racing fuel costs as much $7.50 a gallon. The best part of a race is the last few laps. Hello, 2009 Daytona 10.

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