- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 30, 2006

Another sexual harassment episode at ESPN. I’m not sure the NFL would have let the network have “Monday Night Football” if it were going to be continually flagged for illegal use of hands.

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According to reports, the offending party, baseball analyst Harold Reynolds, got too touchy-feely with a young production assistant. Oh well, it could have been worse. He could have hit on John Kruk.

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Stories say Reynolds was recently married, but let’s not forget: He was always pretty adept at turning the double play.

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In related news, erstwhile slugger Albert Belle pleaded guilty to one count of stalking his ex-girlfriend. His attorney, I’m told, unsuccessfully tried to argue that it wasn’t Albert Belle who was tormenting her, it was his evil twin, Joey Belle.

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The woman told police Belle secretly attached a Global Positioning System tracking device to her car. If the judge has any sense of humor, he’ll order Albert to wear an ankle bracelet for the rest of his life.

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Turning to football, former Maryland star Vernon Davis signed a five-year, $25 million contract with the 49ers, the richest ever for a tight end. The deal contains a unique clause, I’m told, that bans him from accepting any motorcycle rides from Kellen Winslow Jr.

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The Sunday Column bids a belated farewell to Galen Fiss, captain of the Browns’ last championship club in 1964, who died earlier this month at 75. In his varied athletic career, Fiss had the distinction of playing on the same team with Jim Brown, Roger Maris (as a minor league baseball player with Fargo-Moorhead in the Northern League) and Dean Smith (as a basketballer at Kansas). How cool is that?

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Trivia Question: What future Hall of Fame coach was injured in 1957, clearing the way for Fiss to become Cleveland’s starting left linebacker? (Answer below.)

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News item: Michael Jordan hires crony Fred Whitfield as the Bobcats’ chief operating officer.

Comment: What’s next, Michael, replacing Bernie Bickerstaff with Ahmad Rashad?

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What do you suppose inspired the Knicks to make a five-year, $30 million play for Wizards free agent Jared Jeffries — his 6.1 career scoring average or his 4.8 rebounding average? Or was it his 59.3 free throw percentage? Then again, maybe Isiah Thomas is feeling lonely and wants a fellow Indiana Hoosier to talk to.

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First Tom Zbikowski, then Troy Bell. That’s right, folks, the 2003 Big East basketball Player of the Year, whose NBA career ran aground with the Grizzlies, is trying to get in shape for a comeback by doing a little amateur boxing. He had his first bout Thursday night, beating David Oropeza of Rochester, Minn., in a Golden Gloves match.

Bell is going into this with both eyes open — and both nostrils, too. In his first sparring session, the former BC star told the Boston Globe’s Michael Vega, “I got hit one time in the nose and I decided I wasn’t going to get hit no more — and I didn’t. … Besides, I’ve got a little too much nose to be getting hit in the nose all the time. We’re trying to avoid all that. I don’t want to have that boxer’s nose. I want to have the boxer’s skills, minus the boxer’s nose.”

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Bell wasn’t able to establish his offensive game with Memphis and New Orleans. Who knows? Maybe he’ll discover he’s better at shooting jabs than 3-pointers.

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Can’t say I’m surprised Charles Barkley, the would-be politician, has changed his political affiliation from Republican to Democrat. After all, during his playing days, Charles was one of the league’s foremost party hoppers.

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The Wonderful World of the NCAA: Boston College women’s basketball recruit Ayla Brown finished 13th on “American Idol” and plans to pursue a singing career between dribbles. “Technically,” Jackie MacMullan of the Boston Globe writes, “Brown won’t officially be an NCAA student-athlete until Sept. 4, when she begins her fall semester. Her contract with ‘American Idol’ expires Aug. 24, at which point she’ll scurry off to a recording studio to cut her own CD. Production, she said, must be completed before Sept. 4. The CD will be a ‘preexisting’ business transaction, but when it is released, likely in October or November, Brown will be barred from promoting it.”

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While doing some aimless research the other day, I stumbled across an AP story from 1955 about Wilt Chamberlain’s debut at the University of Kansas. Before a crowd of 14,000 — believed to be “a national attendance record for such an event” — he scored 42 points to lead the freshman team past the varsity 81-71. The quotes in the story are just classic. Jayhawks coach Phog Allen said, “Wilt could team with two Phi Beta Kappas and two co-eds and give us a battle.” And Chamberlain’s high school coach, who was in attendance, said, “I’ve seen him do much better.”

Wilt wasn’t all that pleased with his performance, either, it seems. At halftime, 19 points already in the bank, he reportedly groused, “I can’t seem to get going tonight.”

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And get a load of this description: “[Chamberlain] gave his opponents fits by leaping high to literally shove the ball from above the basket through the hoop.”

Yup, the man was dunking even before they had a name for it.

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Repeat after me: There’ll never be another Wilt Chamberlain.

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Number of the Week: 35,000. (Miles on the odometer of John Wooden’s 1989 Ford Taurus. The UCLA basketball legend, soon to be 96, still has a valid driver’s license, Larry Stewart notes in the Los Angeles Times.)

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Number of the Week (honorable mention): 33.3. (Percentage of Virginia’s 2006 football recruiting class — eight of 24 — that failed to gain admission to the school.)

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Answer to trivia question: Chuck Noll was the future Hall of Fame coach who preceded Galen Fiss at left linebacker for the Browns.

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After his latest collapse in the British Open, you have to wonder: Is Sergio Garcia the Best Player Never to Win a Major or the Best Player Who’ll Never Win a Major?

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I’m not sure what to make of this, but going into the Evian Masters, 2005 U.S. Women’s Open champ Birdie Kim was ranked 114th on the LPGA Tour in birdies (2.41 per round).

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And finally …

Kim has been struggling so much of late that she’s starting to look like the birdie Bette Davis served on a bed of tomatoes to Joan Crawford in “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?”

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