ESPN's best and brightest

LOST IN [CYBER] SPACE – I made the switch from to Yahoo Sports a couple of months ago. While there are some good feature writers at, particularly Elizabeth Merrill, I just couldn’t take it anymore. The general buffoonery that has long been a hallmark of the cable channel had started to overrun the website. The final straw came when muting their incessant videos could no longer be a default option. That’s right: every time I went to the site, the sound immediately started blaring. Not only is that the opposite of work-friendly, it’s absolutely infuriating. As in screw you, ESPN. I’m outta here.

Yahoo Sports isn’t much better, it’s just calmer and has far less idiocy. It’s mainly just the boring, obvious pablum you get from the majority of sports journalists but every now and then you get a real head-scratcher. While ESPN boasts the inane and desperately unfunny Rick Reilly, Yahoo Sports has its own bete noir – former Miami Herald beat writer Jason Cole, who covered the Dolphins.I can’t tell you how glad I was to leave Reilly behind when I abandoned ESPN. To see how witless he really is, try watching Leatherheads, which he co-wrote. Even George Clooney couldn’t make it funny. Cole, however, is giving Reilly a run for his money. But instead of whoopee-cushion fart gags, Cole seems specializes in the kind of preachy, sanctimonious nonsense that drives me nuts.

He got righteously indignant in a July 20 piece about how the lockout settlement was going to affect the Brady v. NFL lawsuit. To refresh your memory, after the NFLPA de-certified to gain leverage, several high-profile players including Tom Brady, Petyon Manning, and Drew Brees filed suit against the league. But then the lockout was settled and the case became irrelevant footnote, right? Not according to Cole. He practically sobbed while claiming that settling the case was nothing short of throwing those brave Brady plaintiffs under the bus.

Thanks for stilted dialog and corny plot, Rick!

His argument was jaw-droppingly stupid. The whole point of that lawsuit was to create leverage and force a labor deal; it was the NFLPA’s way telling the owners: Negotiate with us or risk losing in court. So once the lockout ended it was mission accomplished, why is why the parties in Brady v. NFL settled out of court a week after Cole published his tirade. Brady v. NFL was just a tool, not a means to an end. Cole got it so wrong that it’s embarrassing.

Yet Cole’s not done mucking up labor law, apparently. This week, he got on his high horse to say tell us “how important” it is for the NFL to deny former Ohio State Quarterback Terrelle Pryor’s bid to join its Supplemental Draft later this month. Why? Because Pryor was a bad boy in college, accepting gifts (including discount tattoos) against NCAA rules. He then refused to cooperate and was rendered him ineligible to play.

Cole takes pains to say he’s not being moralistic, but his entire argument is that Pryor should be denied access to a labor market so as to teach him teach Ohio State a lesson! Here are Cole’s own words:

None of this is the NFL’s concern. It’s not here to teach right from wrong. It’s an entertainment company. That said, colleges are supposed to teach right from wrong, and the NFL has an important relationship (both economically and philosophically) with the colleges.

By giving Pryor a chance to enter the draft now, the NFL is rewarding a guy (and a college) for avoiding the truth. 

You can’t make this crap up. It’s like he’s lecturing a seven-year-old.

Anyway, by giving Yahoo Sports the benefit of the doubt over, apparently I too was avoiding a truth: there doesn’t seem to be a general sports site out there that isn’t an intellectual embarrassment.

Anyone got any suggestions?

Tomorrow a man whose unavoidable truths we crave, Mr. Cheesy Bruin. In the meantime, you can follow me on Facebook or at my website.

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About The Public Professor 79 Articles
Mattville's George Plimpton, The Public Professor, is indeed a real, honest-to-goodness, legitimate professor at a major Maryland university. But because he doesn't have a cell phone or cable, he's crazy enough to be with us. A member of Angry Ward's Urban Spur Posse, the terrorized Bronx graffiti artist's by correcting their grammar. His loves? The Yankees, Knicks, NY Rangers and the Pittsburgh Steelers. He also has a real website: (