The Nets Fizzle and Disappoint -- Who's to Blame?

Categories: Jockbeat

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Anyone can lose a basketball game, but when you lose one like the Nets lost Saturday night -- the 7th game of a playoff series at home to a team playing without key players -- there has to be consequences.

All year long the Nets had been battling the Knicks for media attention and fan adulation, and in many ways seemed to be winning, or at least doing no worse than even. It was like the rivalries that we read about between the old Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants. And just when it seemed as the Nets were going to pull ahead of the Knicks, who faltered for a while against the Celtics in their playoff series while the Nets were making what seemed like a gutsy comeback against the Bulls, it all fell apart for Brooklyn.

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Who's Saving the Yankees' Season While All Their Old Men Are Out? An Old Man, Naturally

Categories: Jockbeat

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Nice quip from David Letterman last night: "Martha Stewart says she wants to meet a rich man between the age of 50 and 70. Why doesn't she just date a New York Yankee?"

Indeed. And the subs that the Yankees have brought in to get them through a period of recovery from injuries are as old as the guys they're replacing. Travis Hafner, for instance, who was acquired as a free agent on February , will turn 36 on June 3. A Cleveland Indian for 10 of his 11 major league seasons after playing a few games for the Texas Rangers in 2002, he's a perfect example of how lucky the Yankees have been this season.

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Who's Going to be the Jets Starting QB? If You Can Throw a Spiral, You Have a Chance

Categories: Jockbeat

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If you're not busy for the next couple weeks, there's an excellent opportunity to get some exercise and play some football. And--who knows?--maybe land yourself a spot on an NFL roster.

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Jason Collins is Warmly Accepted by the NBA; Time for Other Pro Sports Commissioners to Step Up

Categories: Jockbeat

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Well, it happened even faster than we expected. This, from the upcoming cover story in Sports Illustrated, a personal essay by NBA center Jason Collins: "I'm a 34-year-old NBA center. I'm black. And I'm gay."

See more: The Jackie Robinson of Gay Rights"

"I didn't set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. But since I am, I'm happy to start the conversation. I wish I wasn't the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, 'I'm different.' If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I'm raising my hand."


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The Jets Get Rid of Darrelle Revis in Order to Continue Their 40-Year Rebuilding Process

Categories: Jockbeat

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With the Knicks and Nets winning their first playoff games and the Yankees and Mets both over .500, it would seem that New York is on the verge of a happiness explosion. But I'm bummed out. The best football player in New York, maybe the best defensive player in the league and perhaps the best second best player in Jets history (after you know who) is gone to the Tampa Bay Bucs, and it just doesn't seem as if we got enough for him.

See More:
-How Random Are NFL Drug Tests?
-The Jets Should Move Darrelle Revis (to Free Safety)

How good was Darrelle Revis? Well, I saw a stat on ESPN that I'm too depressed to check on the particulars of, but basically it's this: In the 79 games that Revis played since coming to the Jets in 2007, he "defensed" -- broke up or intercepted -- 97 passes, one less than the guy who led the NFL in the category and played in many more games than Revis (who was pretty durable before missing 14 last year with a torn ACL). In other words, from 2007 till now, no defensive back in the league has been as good as Revis at defensing passes.

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Despite What You May Have Heard, Carmelo Anthony Doesn't Choke in the Playoffs

Categories: Jockbeat

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"NY Knicks' Carmelo Anthony needs to change perception of being NBA Playoffs bust. So reads the headline to Mitch Lawrence's column in Friday's Daily News. The headline is correct; it is a perception that Carmelo is a playoff bust, not a reality.

Yes, it's true, the bottom line is wins and losses, and neither with the Denver Nuggets, where his teams went 16-30 in the playoffs, or with the Knicks, who have gone 1-8 wit  two first round knockouts have his terms been successful. But there's only so much that any one player can do, and Melo has done it.

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The Jackie Robinson of Gay Rights

Categories: Jockbeat

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In one of the more light-hearted moments in 42, a nearly-naked Ralph Branca (played by Hamish Linklater) confronts an equally near-naked Jackie Robinson (Chadwick Boseman) on the question on why he doesn't shower with the rest of the team. After a minute or so of hemming and hawing, Branca blurts out, "Jackie, I'd like you to take a shower with me " -- or words to that effect.

Boseman's eyebrows raise, and Linklater immediately begins to stammer, "I didn't mean that the way it sounded."

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What the Manager Who Verbally Abused Jackie Robinson Has to Do With Vladimir Nabokov

Categories: Jockbeat

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If you've seen 42, no doubt one of the more memorable scenes is when Philadelphia Phillies manager Ben Chapman heaps verbal slurs on Jackie Robinson in a 1947 game. The incident actually happened, and it shortened Chapman's career even though the two posed for photographers shortly afterwards to show that there was no bad blood. (Yeah, right).

Chapman was released by the Phillies the following season and had just one more stint in the majors, as a coach for Cincinnati in 1952.

Read More: Bathed in Amber Light, '42' Sugars Over the Greatest Generation's Dark Side

I knew Chapman while I was growing up in Birmingham, Alabama; he was a local legend, the "Alabama Flash," who had led the American League in stolen bases four times. He was happy to offer his rationale to anyone who would listen that his abuse of Robinson was no different than what he and many others had handed out to Joe DiMaggio ("Heck, we called him 'Dago' and 'Wop'.") and Hank Greenberg ("Kike," was the most popular insult.)

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A-Rod's Latest Steroid Mess: What's True, What's False, and is Anyone Getting Blackmailed?

Categories: Jockbeat

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Trying to sort through the latest Alex Rodriguez-related mess--I'm not going to call it a scandal yet for reasons that will come up in a moment--is like trying to read the New York Review of Books on a crowded subway: it's hard to find one line that connects with the next.

The Times fired the first shot in an online report Thursday that appeared in the Friday print edition. All subsequent reports that I've read (including the Daily News, SI.com, etc.) took their lead from The Times story.  The first piece to put the facts in place without jumping to conclusions was written by ESPN's razor-sharp T.J. Quentin and Mike Fish.

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Bernard King: Not Such a Hall of Fame Guy?

Categories: Jockbeat

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You think you know a guy. Bernard King was on the top rung of my sports heroes since 1984, when he had incredible back-to-back 50-point games in Knicks victories. (Try that one, Melo.) Like everyone else, I was overjoyed to see him sweep easily into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. In none of the voluminous literature he's inspired over the last 30 years had I seen anything about ... Well, let's let Peter Richmond tell it:

These are Bernard King's statistics as a member of the Utah Jazz: five felony forcible sexual-assault charges; three for forcible "sodomy," two for forcible "sexual abuse." Convictions after the arrest? Just one, after King pled down to misdemeanor to "Attempted Forcible Sexual Assault."
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