Today in the World of Sports…
Soccer – or football, if you want to seem cultured – needs more than one primary referee at a time officiating a FIFA World Cup game. On Friday, during the United States’ tie with Slovenia, the U.S. was on the unfortunate end of a call from match official Koman Coulibaly. One ref and two line judges cannot see every play on the field. Soccer is arguably the most action-packed sport. Therefore, six eyes are not capable of calling a clean match. Coulibaly is that imperfect combination of baseball umpire Jim Joyce and Chicago Cubs fan Steve Bartman. Until the end of time, soccer fans will never be fully pleased with a referee’s decisions.
Alexi Lalas, a U.S. national defender on the 1994 World Cup squad, has become, in my opinion, one of the most straight-forward and tell-it-as-is sports analysts. Since his first work calling games in 2000, Lalas has improved vastly. He fears nobody in making his views known. Having served as both general manager and president for three Major League Soccer organizations, it makes sense that Lalas speaks his mind. If only all sports commentators could follow Lalas’ lead.
Last week, when it was announced that the Jacksonville Jaguars had its final two organized team activities cancelled, I was somewhat caught off guard. By having a too-intense regimen during OTAs, the Jaguars are one of four NFL organizations to have broken Collective Bargaining Agreement rules this year. The others are the Baltimore Ravens, Oakland Raiders and Detroit Lions. In the last five years, only two other teams have suffered such consequences. Jacksonville will not be able to conduct any OTAs or workouts this week. The Jaguars will report back June 28th.
Speaking with the media on Thursday about the affect it might have on the Jaguars, safety Sean Considine commented, “If we pushed the envelope a little bit too far, then we did and we’re going to suffer those consequences. We’re going to accept it as a team. I don’t think anybody is pointing fingers or wanting to know who called the union, or who turned us in.” Considine, who experienced the same OTA cancellation with the 2007 Philadelphia Eagles, probably does not share the same sentiment as most Jaguar fans. Many people I have talked to really want to know which player – if it was – squealed.
Following the OTA announcement, head coach Jack Del Rio, when asked about the intensity of OTAs and player improvement, said, “The biggest thing that we’re getting right now is a lot of experience, a lot of exposure, in particular for some of our younger guys. And, so they’re getting reps, they’re getting an idea of what fundamentals we’re looking for, the techniques we’re looking for.” All in all, missing one offseason week of team activities will not cripple the Jaguars. We have to remember that it’s June, not July or August.
In a five-question segment with Sporting News Magazine, former University of Florida cornerback Joe Haden spoke of the best receivers he faced while with the Gators. The 21-year-old, chosen by the Cleveland Browns with the No. 7 first-round pick this year, said, “The best receiver I faced was Percy Harvin, going against him in practice every day.” Other than his own teammate, Haden gushed about Georgia’s A.J. Green, Alabama’s Julio Jones and Louisiana State’s Brandon LaFell. Haden, a 2009 first-team All-American, acknowledged Green’s size, speed and everything else about him is “just off the charts.” Playing in the AFC North, Haden will encounter a number of receivers with such skills – Anquan Boldin, Chad Ochocinco and Hines Ward.
University of North Florida freshman golfer Kevin Phelan did not make it into the weekend play at the 110th U.S. Open Championship. The 2010 Atlantic-Sun Freshman of the Year finished two rounds at 16-over, 158 (83-75). The U.S. Open was Phelan’s first major golf tournament. Having earned spots on the A-Sun All-Freshman Team and the All-Atlantic Sun First Team, Phelan helped lead the Ospreys to a top-25 ranking all season long. At this rate, UNF could be known not only for baseball – but also its basketball and golf programs.
For the second consecutive year, in a Forbes poll of most hated sports figures, Philadelphia Eagles backup quarterback Michael Vick’s name is at the top. For a player that has been nearly out of the spotlight for more than six months, who is still hating this man?
Richard Miller is a national broadcaster for Jacksonville Jaguars’ home games on Sporting News Radio.
Additionally, he can be heard on ABC 1320 WBOB in Jacksonville and 103.7 FM at the Jacksonville Beaches on Saturdays as host of Inside the Game. The program airs from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m.
Currently, Richard is writing David Lamm’s biography entitled Lamm at Large: The David Lamm Story, which will be available in 2010.
Follow Richard’s daily blog on The Jacksonville Observer and his Twitter page MillerOnSports.