- The Washington Times - Monday, August 29, 2011

Once again, it’s time to check off some items on my “TIDU List” - Things I Don’t Understand:

• How John Beck or Rex Grossman can distinguish themselves before Sept. 11.

Coach Mike Shanahan said he’ll continue to assess the closely-matched candidates, possibly until the opener against the New York Giants. “It all depends on if someone separates themselves,” he said. “We’ve got a few more days of evaluation.”

If Shanahan bases his decision on the next several days, it means he’s just like the rest us - he has no idea what either QB will bring.

• Why one false start means automatic disqualification.

Usain Bolt, track’s only superstar, was tossed from the 100 meters final at the World Championships because he started .104 seconds early. Just like that, the sole reason that casual fans pay attention was gone, thanks to a 19-month-old rule that DQs runners at the first infraction.

In terms of the sport’s mass appeal (scant as it is), the rule on false starts will hasten the true end.

• How Danica Patrick’s sex appeal hurts her credibility.

Besides posing as a scantily-clad hood ornament, appearing in steamy, Internet-only commercials, and revealing string bikinis underneath her racing suit, Patrick is just another driver. However, in moving to NASCAR full time, she faces renewed criticism about style over substance. She has won just once in 112 IndyCar starts.

But after 61 top-10 finishes, there isn’t another also-ran we’d rather see.

• Why Tiger Woods shouldn’t be invited to the Presidents Cup.

When Fred Couples added Woods to the U.S. team, the hue and cry was heard in Australia, site of this year’s event. There’s no denying that Woods has played terribly in his freefall from No. 1 in the world to No. 36.

But whether you root for more wreckage or a remarkable turnaround, Woods remains eye candy on TV eye - and that’s reason enough.

• How LSU football players could brawl after breaking curfew.

You’ve got to be a real knucklehead to leave after a 10:30 p.m. bed check and get in a 2 a.m. altercation. More than 20 players allegedly were at Shady’s Bar and two have been charged with second-degree battery (a felony), including starting QB Jordan Jefferson. Coach Les Miles said he suspended the two players for “a bunch of reasons.”

One is enough for me: sheer stupidity.

• Why Jordan Zimmermann’s season couldn’t end on a brighter note.

The Washington Nationals’ righty was stellar in his first full season after Tommy John surgery, going 8-11 with a 3.18 ERA. But he left Sunday’s game, his shortest outing this year (4 1/3 innings), on the losing end. “It’s going to make me work even harder and be ready for spring training,” he said.

Oh well … Stephen Strasburg returns next week!

• How Javaris Crittenton became the subject of a nationwide manhunt.

Associates of the former Washington Wizards guard were shocked at his role in the “guns-in-the-locker-room” incident. But that’s nothing compared to a “Wanted” poster declaring him “armed and dangerous.” He’s accused of killing a woman while gunning for someone he thought stole jewelry from him.

Now four children are motherless and he’s on the lam; I’d ask what was he thinking but it’s clear that he wasn’t.

c Why unsportsmanlike celebration penalties should wipe out touchdowns.

Sportsmanship and showmanship are touchy issues, with varying views on appropriate and inappropriate expression. Lines need to be drawn, though we might differ on where. But under a new college football rule this season, offending teams’ scores will be overturned instead of them being penalized on the PAT or ensuing kickoff.

Amazingly, coaches voted to give officials that power, which is like giving the IRS another hammer in its toolbox.

c How NFL commish Roger Goodell’s rulings can be more perplexing.

Tampa Bay CB Aqib Talib and Tennessee WR Kenny Britt had major brushes with the law during the lockout - a period the NFL said is fair game for discipline - yet they weren’t suspended. Oakland QB Terrelle Pryor had major brushes with the NCAA - a body that the NFL has no jurisdiction over - but he was suspended for five games.

Ah, it’s good to be the king/judge/jury/executioner/Grand Poobah.

c Why a “white” Michael Vick made sense to ESPN.

Many of us have wondered what would happen if so-and-so were a different race in such-and-such an instance. Social scientists have answered through experiments in which white and black candidates - given the same credentials - yield opposite results at the bank, rental office and job interview. But putting a black person in “whiteface,” as ESPN did to Vick, doesn’t tell us a thing.

It just makes me miss even more the comedic genius of Dave Chappelle.

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