Column: The good, the bad … and the NFL

Let’s talk about sports.

The good

The IAAF Track and Field World Championships were on TV last weekend. I enjoy track and field. I don’t think there are a lot of us around who feel the same way.

I enjoy great races and great performances and dominance.

It’s seldom that something can be too good. But sometimes domination rubs fans the wrong way.

According to many, the New England Patriots are too good, as is the University of Alabama football program under Nick Saban, the UConn women’s basketball team and LeBron James.

If you’re too good, you gain enemies. If you’re too good for a long time, the list of haters grows.

Unless you’re Usain Bolt.

The more this track and field supoerstar dominated, the more popular he became.

Never has a sprinter been so dominant. His physical presence is dominating enough. But for 10 years, Bolt never lost a 100-meter dash.

But in spite of his success, Bolt was as well-know for his smile as he was for his speed.

On Saturday, Usain Bolt lost a 100-meter dash at the world championships in London.

Neither I — nor anyone else — had seen that before.

Bolt was beaten. He finished third actually, behind two Americans.

And despite the fact he had announced that these championships would be his last — that he was retiring — no one expected him to get beat on the track.

He was just too good.

How good?

Eight Olympic gold medals, countless world championships and millions, if not billions of fans around the world.

And he seemed to be a pretty nice guy, which is not always the case with superstars. He never failed a drug test and his relationship with the world media was always professional, and sometimes quite entertaining.

I don’t watch track and field all the time. But I am more than a casual observer. And I’ve not heard a word of controversy when it comes to Bolt.

After the race, Justin Gatlin, the man who won Bolt’s last 100-meter race, was shown on TV and video bowing down in front of Bolt in a genuine sign of respect. The the two embraced and although I don’t know what Bolt said to the American sprinter, I’m sure it was respectful, too.

That was the best thing I saw this weekend.

The bad

The Cleveland Indians put Michael Miller and Josh Tomlin on the disabled list last week. The good news is Miller’s problem is not with an arm. It’s with a knee, and is expected to get better with rest.

Tomlin is out at least six weeks. His season could be over, due to a hamstring strain.

It seems we’ve been here before.

Last year, the Indians lost starting pitchers Dally Salazar and Carlos Carrasco on pretty much the eve of the start of the playoffs. The fact they made it to the World Series and came close to beating the heavily-favored Chicago Cubs was something no one expected.

A big part of that post-season success last year was Miller.

I’m hoping for the best.

The ugly

The NFL gets less attractive each year. And not just because I’m a Browns fan.

I still love a good story. I still enjoy watching superb athletes do things no one else in the world can do.

But I hate greed and I hate hypocrisy.

In my eyes, the NFL is a world leader in both.

The greed is out there in the open. Every knows the NFL is all about making money.

What isn’t as widely reported is the NFL’s hypocrisy. That’s what is chasing me away.

Colin Kaepernick can’t get a job. But Joe Mixon will be a big part of the Cincinnati Bengals’ offense this year.

Colin Kaepernick can’t even get a tryout. Ray Lewis will soon be a member of the NFL Hall of Fame.

Colin Kaepernick is hated and despised by NFL owners. Adam “Pacman” Jones is still playing.

Colin Kaepernick may never play another down in the NFL. But Adrian Peterson continues to make millions.

It makes no sense.

Mixon decked a woman with one punch when he was a member of the Oklahoma football team. Lewis was accused in the murder of two men in Atlanta, eventually pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge of obstruction of justice and after agreeing to testify against two others. Jones’ list of offenses is too long to list in this column. Petersen beat the crap out of his son.

And Kaepernick?

Oh yea, he took a knee during the national anthem, to protest the killing of black men in America by law enforcement officers.

You can agree or disagree with Kaepernick’s protest. (I had no problem with it.)

But there is no arguing that what Kaepernick did is much less offensive and less heinous and less horrific than the actions of Mixon, Lewis, Jones and Petersen.

The NFL is all for giving second, third and fourth chances.

Except when it comes to Kaepernick.


Because it could cost the NFL money.

Despite what the NFL says, protecting “The Shield” is a not less important that filling team owners’ wallets.

Profits are No. 1 on the NFL to-do list.

Sponsors don’t like Kaepernick’s stance. Giving him a job could result in lost revenue from advertising.

Why else would owners blackball a quarterback easily more talented than half of the QBs employed by the NFL.

Because of greed.


Russ Kent

Galion Inquirer



Russ Kent is editor of the Galion Inquirer. Email him at [email protected] with comments or story ideas.