Dan Wetzel

  • How the Cavs challenged Kevin Love to find his game

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 7 hrs ago

    CLEVELAND – Kevin Love spent last year's playoffs mostly standing around in street clothes, limited to just four games for the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Big Three became a Big Two, then Kyrie Irving got hurt and it was down to just LeBron James and then, soon enough, elimination.

    Love's impact on this team and this potential championship run isn't lost on anyone. When he fell into an Eastern Conference finals shooting slump so horrific he was essentially benched in a Game 4 loss, his teammates came at him. The opportunity was too precious for Love not to impact.

    Some were supportive. Some were challenging.

    "I wasn't … positive," Richard Jefferson said.

    Some offered a chance to commiserate, most notably a late Tuesday session with Channing Frye hitting home to Love. Frye recalled a 1-for-20 stretch he endured back in the 2010 playoffs when he was with Phoenix.

    "He said, 'It just goes to show you, no one is immune,' " Love said. " 'You just have to find different ways to make your impact.' I give him a lot of credit for staying on me and staying vocal."

    "I'll go out swinging either way."

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  • $30M donation brought NFL another crisis of credibility

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 2 days ago

    First the NFL tried to buy itself a talking point of spin. The cost: $30 million, courtesy of a "no strings attached" donation to the National Institutes of Health, which was conducting a study on the relationship between CTE and football. Hey, look, we care so much we are funding the study. That was 2012.

    However, a doctor named Robert Stern, who had been critical of the NFL, was chosen to run it rather than doctors the league preferred. The NFL responded by trying to strong-arm doctors back in, fighting for a system where the conclusions would not face aggressive peer review and eventually pulling $16 million out of the "no strings attached" donation. What the league first claimed was goodwill was actually a way to control the conclusions.

    ESPN was the first to report this last year. On Monday, a Congressional investigation backed it all up in a damning, 91-page report.

    Who is the target audience here anyway? What is the point of this argument?

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  • Here's why Tom Brady won't give up in deflate-gate fight

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 2 days ago

    If Tom Brady was prone to giving up or giving in, he probably never would have made it out of the University of Michigan, where he was forced to platoon at quarterback with local prep star Drew Henson (Brady would play the first quarter, Henson the second and then at halftime, the coaches chose who would play the rest of the game).

    From that unorthodox system, Brady was forged. It would have been no surprise if he'd lost focus, struggled, transferred (which earlier in his career he considered, but instead rededicated himself).

    Forget going from sixth-round draft pick to four-time Super Bowl champion. That Brady battled through season after college season of doubts and depth charts, quietly and without public or even much private complaint, head down yet focused on the long game, will explain why he is continuing the fight against his deflate-gate suspension and likely will until every last legal remedy is exhausted.

    Tom Brady isn't giving up, not then, not now, not ever it seems.

    It's little wonder that much of Brady's appeal for the en blanc hearing centered on that very phrase – industrial justice – and tried to make this about a lot more than footballs.

     

  • Sochi Olympics postscript: The whole thing was a fake

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 13 days ago

    There they were, Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, and Thomas Bach, the president of the International Olympic Committee. There they were, side-by-side, champagne flute by champagne flute, both wearing blue suits and expressions of importance at a "welcoming party" on the eve of the Sochi Olympics.

    The rest of the world was already skeptical of the 2014 Games. Suspicious of the whispers of bribes paid out to win the bid away from Austria. Suspicious of the $51 billion in construction costs to turn a former swampland into something that looked like a still-uncompleted movie set, fake storefronts with nothing behind them. Suspicious of the missing dogs and political rivals, both reportedly scrubbed from the streets.

    In Putin, IOC aristocrats such as Bach thought they had found their kindred spirit, willing to pay and do anything for Olympic glory.

    Construct lavish and ridiculous facilities that play to the IOC's over-inflated sense of worth? Check. Suck up to IOC leadership like they are all-powerful? Check. Toss a little something extra on the side to assure the voting on host city goes smooth? Cough. Cough.

    Ah, Thomas Bach, how could you have not seen this coming?

  • Penn State president digs deeper hole in Jerry Sandusky saga

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 16 days ago

    Last week, the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal was back in the news, bringing Penn State and its late football coach Joe Paterno with it. The stories were ugly: four separate accusations that Paterno and/or assistant coaches/administrators allegedly knew of Sandusky’s acts as early as 1976. It all stemmed from a paragraph in a court order in a civil suit between Penn State and one of its insurers.

    Four-and-a-half years after Sandusky was first arrested, Paterno was fired and Penn State was rocked, here was an another reverberation, proof that just as it is for victims of sexual abuse, this stuff doesn’t ever conveniently end.

    Rather than focusing on the administration's role in not just the original events but in igniting this specific media frenzy, university president Eric Barron instead pathetically tried to shift the blame while lamenting that the poor, poor school and its old coach were being dragged though the mud.

    It stands to reason that Penn State once understood all of this.

  • What still matters in Penn State's sordid scandal: No one stopped Jerry Sandusky

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 20 days ago

    It is but a few lines in a court order – unsubstantiated and unproven. It comes from the kind of insurance case that is so often unreliable. Everyone involved, including Joe Paterno, deserves that disclaimer – that reminder for fairness – even if the accusation produces the kinds of questions that can, and should, cause blood to boil all over again.

    What did Joe Paterno know and when did he know it, and why couldn't he or someone – or anyone – have stopped Jerry Sandusky when they had the damn chance?

    Sandusky and Paterno and Penn State are back in the awful news because of a Thursday court order in a legal fight between Penn State and the Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association Insurance Co. It was over who was responsible for the approximate $60 million in civil payouts to sexual molestation victims of Sandusky, the school's former defensive coordinator.

    Sandusky, now 72, was criminally convicted of 45 counts of sexual abuse in 2012 and is serving a 30-to-60 year sentence.

    Few would care except Glazer's order included the following passage, mentioning allegations against Paterno and Penn State never publicly heard:

    Sandusky wasn't arrested for another decade.

  • SEC: College football's best conference (for drama)

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 20 days ago

    Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said he knew nothing (about an ongoing investigation), Alabama coach Nick Saban said he would say nothing (of an assistant coach leaving under reports of a possible recruiting violation), Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen said there is nothing to be said (about a recruit who allegedly punched a woman in a cell phone video) and Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin said he said enough (to a tweeting assistant coach who may have undermined Aggie recruiting), but he wouldn't say exactly what he said.

    Meanwhile, Arkansas coach Bret Bielema, who two weeks ago brushed off the importance of satellite recruiting camps, now says he'll use them to take the Razorbacks "global." Madrid? Moscow? Bret in the Bahamas?

    "The Wild Hog Tour 2016," Bielema cracked.

    At least he was in a good mood. Actually, it was also good times for any fan who doesn't take this stuff too seriously and instead revels in the absurdity and antics of college football's best ongoing soap opera – "As The SEC West Turns."

    "Nope," said Mullen, his (once/still) future coach.

    As for what the future holds?

    That's part of the fun too, though.

  • Big 12 should push to expand the playoff, not its conference

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 21 days ago

    At the Big 12's spring meetings held at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel on Wednesday, administrators reviewed data and discussed whether the league should expand, perhaps by six schools, in an effort to …

    Wait, wait, wait. Let’s stop right there.

    We’ll get to the relative wisdom of expansion, but first let’s note something that actually could explain why the most obvious solution to the Big 12’s concern about being shut out of the College Football Playoff isn’t being discussed.

    The Big 12 conference is holding its spring meetings at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel. Repeat: The Arizona Biltmore, opened in 1929 and long known as “The Jewel of the Desert” … for good reason.

    This is where the Big 12 is holding its athletic directors meeting? Even though the league doesn’t have a campus within 800 miles, let alone in the state of Arizona?

    You can certainly spell amateurism without a-u-s-t-e-r-i-t-y, but that doesn’t mean you should.

    Then again, this sort of explains everything because they aren’t at the Biltmore by accident. It serves as the site of the Fiesta Summit, a favored junket of athletic administrators who make up the National Collegiate Athletic Industrial Complex.

    Clink. Clink.

  • Two words that sum up the 2016 NFL draft: bong hit

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 27 days ago

    CHICAGO — Next summer, when the HBO show "Ballers" begins its second season and the NFL tries to dismiss its wild storylines as just the work of fiction and not representative of real life inside the league … just remember that on draft night 2016, a top prospect tumbled through the first round because minutes before the event a video of him smoking something, presumably marijuana, while wearing a gas mask was released on his own Twitter account, which he claimed was hacked, perhaps, some speculated, by his own stepfather who had sued him two days prior. Then, less than two hours later (you thought that was it?) his Instagram revealed screenshots of text conversations allegedly between the player and an assistant athletic director at his college where he asked for payments for rent and his mom's utility bills, which are violations of NCAA statutes.

    There is a lot in that paragraph.

    Go ahead and reread it and try not to laugh while we all wait to see what pops up on Laremy Tunsil's LinkedIn.

    "[I don't know] what's going on; I thought everything was in the rent," Tunsil allegedly wrote, suggesting Ole Miss was paying that, too.

     

     

  • Carson Wentz heads to Philly with thick skin in tow

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 27 days ago

    CHICAGO — It's a long way from Fargo to Philly, probably longer than Carson Wentz even realizes.

    He seems like a good dude, earnest and eager and thoughtful. He's big at offering inspirational faith-based quotes over social media. He stuck to his roots and selected "Fly Over States" by Jason Aldean as his walkout music at the draft, the only one to go country. He's extremely proud of the blue-collar ethos of his home state.

    "You have to earn everything in North Dakota," he said.

    In that measure, being Philadelphia's quarterback isn't much different. Just because the Eagles selected Wentz second overall here Thursday doesn't mean he's going to get a honeymoon period with the team's fans and media. Some say Eagles fans are the meanest in the league, but maybe they are just the least naïve; the most demanding of proof not promise.

    In other words, he better be good.

    "I don't know what to make of that," Wentz said.

    Talk radio will.

    It's the beauty of the place.