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Whitt's End: Mavs Coach Funnel & Skip Bayless 'Apology'

Whitt's End: Dallas Mavs Coaching Funnel, The Skip Bayless 'Apology' & DFW Sports Notebook

Whether you’re at the end of your coffee, your day, your week or even your rope, welcome to Whitt’s End 09.11.20 …

*I’m not any angrier at Skip Bayless today than I am at WWE champion Roman Reigns. Why? Because for 30 years, Bayless too has merely been a scripted actor playing a part in a fabricated drama.

Like Reigns fakes body slams inside the ropes of TV’s silliest soap opera, Bayless vomits fraudulent opinions on a TV show crafted solely to illicit reaction. Despite his rant against Dallas Cowboys’ quarterback Dak Prescott’s revelation of struggling with depression in the wake of his brother’s suicide, I refuse to lend Skip credibility in the form of anger. Or anything.

His words aren’t real; neither should be our emotions.

Growing up in DFW, I admired Bayless as a talented writer for the Dallas Times Herald. But somewhere along the way, he sold his soul to TV money and deteriorated into a gutless, disingenuous, sociopath of a persona who chooses sides, forms takes and exploits victims purely for popularity and profit. His abhorrent diatribe included “I don’t have sympathy for (Prescott) going public with ‘I got depressed’.” If Bayless truly believed that – honesty felt that toxic masculinity was honorable and honest vulnerability was weakness – it would be almost criminal.

But he’s worse. ... Because Skip didn’t care enough to even think through the ramifications of his words. He only gleefully calculated the views, the clicks and the viral reaction that he covets more than oxygen.

Bayless is nothing more than a blowhard con man. He is not a Dallas Cowboys fan. He does not hate LeBron James or the Dallas Mavericks’ Luka Doncic. Both are just threads of his manipulated sad story.

His former DTH co-writers despised him. He was the first voice ever heard on 1310 The Ticket, yet the station disowns him. He proudly boasted about being an “All-State” basketball player in high school in Oklahoma City, until fact-checkers uncovered he averaged only 1.2 points per game. He once insinuated – without an ounce of proof – that Troy Aikman was gay. He later claimed that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones bought our own Mike Fisher a car in order to curry positive stories. He wrote a book about Jimmy Johnson, without getting an interview with Jimmy Johnson.

You get the point.

I say "don't get emotional'' about it, but yet I highly recommend Fish's YouTube Channel discussion on the subject, which moments after it was published earned 7,000 views. Go get it here, and learn more about this issue from somebody's who has lived it.)

To steal his sophomoric pun-heavy style, Bayless has melted into a “Phallus in Blunderland.”

Fox Sports issued an apology-without-apologizing ...

And that is infuriating to some, too.

Here’s hoping Dak – and, ultimately, Bayless’ viewers – see through his contrived bullshit once and for all. Because as a member of the sports media, I’m embarrassed. The fact that the 68-year-old makes $6 million a year at Fox Sports 1 is a disgraceful commentary on where we are today. 

But then again, Reigns makes $1.2 million per year in WWE, so … Bayless on Thursday invited his viewers to “go ahead and condemn me if you choose as cold-blooded and insensitive …” 

Even better, it’s time to give Skip what he really deserves. Indifferent silence. Fewer eyeballs.

*Prepare accordingly, a player(s) on the Cowboys is going to kneel in protest of police brutality and racial inequality before Sunday night’s season opener against the Rams in Los Angeles. 

READ MORE: Ezekiel Elliott: Some Cowboys Will Kneel On Sunday

The non-violent protest will be welcomed – or perhaps merely tolerated – by Jerry Jones. He asked for grace from fans early in training camp and now says “it’s a genuine ask for help” and “right now in our society, we got some things we need to address.” 

Amen. Some fans will initially knee-jerk into “That’s it! I’m done with the NFL!” But they’ll come back. By the end of the first quarter. America’s Team > America’s Cancel Culture.

*50,000 fans. 1 million headaches. But it appears the Cowboys have solved their ongoing, online ticketing snafu in time for Sept. 20’s home opener. With no season tickets in 2020, holders were afforded first right to buy single-game tickets through SeatGeek. 

After a two-week struggle, my season-ticket holding buddy was finally on Wednesday able to secure tickets to four games. Last week the website crashed several times. This week? 

“Another day of Hell on Wednesday,” he tells me. “First it wouldn’t take anyone’s credit cards. Then ticketing was suspended for a couple hours. But finally, I got four tickets to Falcons, 49ers and Eagles. Was trying to buy six, but I’ll take it.” 

Oh, 2020’s sense of humor knows no bounds.

*Today is the 19th anniversary of 9/11. I was in New York both the day before and just six weeks after the deadly terrorist attacks. As I did annually while a columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, I was in New York for the U.S. Open tennis tournament in 2001. I flew my ex-wife and her son up on Labor Day Weekend for some sightseeing and tennis. We lunched in Central Park, went to the top of the Empire State Building and took the ferry ride around New York Harbor and the Statue of Liberty. 

The photo of us on 9/2/01 – Twin Towers standing proudly in the background – gives me chills to this day.

After writing a story about Lleyton Hewitt’s upset of Pete Sampras in the final, I flew out of LaGuardia Airport on Monday, Sept. 10. 

Life changed, forever, 24 hours later.

*Can a cardboard cutout wear a paper bagAsking for a friend Rangers’ fan. Despite a two-game winning “streak”, they have fewer wins than every team not named the Pittsburgh Pirates.

*Continued thoughts and prayers to those in sports media going through health struggles. DFW radio icon Norm Hitzges is battling bladder cancer (but somehow not missing work). Ted Nichols-Payne’s six-week ordeal with COVID-19 is almost over, as he stopped by 105.3 The Fan’s studios this week. Mark Friedman remains in the hospital, but this week got off his ventilator and underwent a tracheostomy while doctors continue to attempt to determine the cause of his severe illness and organ failure.

*If I had the power to create heaven and the earth in the blink of my eye, I’d snap my fingers and re-route hurricanes from the Atlantic to the Pacific in order to dump water on all the wildfires. Just sayin’.

*With no fans, no home-field advantages, some players opting out and entire conferences not playing, all of sports deserves an asterisk in 2020. In fact, so does the entire year. Putting on a quarantined 15 pounds? Alienating your family over politics? All excused in 2020, the year all achievements and failures should be devalued.

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*Cowboys will wear their blue jerseys Sunday night. Not to fret, traditionalists, they’ll wear their white for 14 of 16 games.

READ MORE on COWBOYS at RAMS at CowboysSI.com

*If you like Thursday morning’s weather – a record-low 55 degrees and dreary – I probably won’t like you. I dig the extremes. Give me 105 or 15. I like adapting to be comfortable being uncomfortable.

*Hot.

*Not.

*Here’s hoping CeeDee Lamb returns punts in the opener, and all season. One of my biggest thrills as a kid was watching Bob Hayes field one over his shoulder at his own 10 and then speed up the sideline for a touchdown. For all that was wrong with Deion Sanders, he returned four punts for scores as a Cowboy. 

Punt returns should be opportunities for a big play. Too many conservative coaches – especially Gingers – consider them merely landmines for negative plays. Give me Dwayne Harris. Even give me Dez Bryant and his wacko decisions. 

And because I want the ball in the hands of my most dynamic playmakers as many times as possible, give me Lamb.

READ MORE: Should Cowboys CeeDee Lamb Return Punts?

*Overheard a guy talking on the phone this week at Lowe’s: “Yeah, I’ve got another fantasy draft tonight … right, right, I know … four leagues is a lot but … ” Four?! Here’s hoping the poor sap on the other end of that conversation wasn’t his wife. Or sane.

*Shame on us. In the wake of 9/11 – at least for a moment – we were truly the United States of America. Bumper stickers. Buttons. Friendly exchanges with strangers. Everyone pulling the rope in the same direction. But now? We’re splintered into polarized tribes, more divided than ever.

*Best chance for Cowboys to beat the Rams? Ezekiel Elliott to rush for 100+ yards. In 2019, NFL teams with a 100-yard rusher were 78-28, much more successful than teams with a 100-yard receiver (96-84) or 300-yard passer (68-61).

I know this can be "chicken-or-egg.'' But that's still a lopsided number worth watching.

*Remember after 9/11 how we were convinced foreign terrorists would be our No. 1 enemy forever? Today it’s not that, nor some caravan of immigrants, or ANTIFA, or those much-hyped murder hornets. Nope. According to the Department of Homeland Security, the main threat to America in 2020 is right under our nose: White supremacists.

*Speaking of Zeke, a year ago he was fresh off the beach in Cabo after ending a contract holdout the Wednesday before the opener. Against the New York Giants, he went out and played 32 snaps, running for 53 yards and a 10-yard score. He might be better this year, but he won’t be fresher.

*Veteran news-breaking journalist Bob Woodward’s new book is titled RAGE. It’s about the government lying to us, not a certain former radio show. Thankfully. Though, now that I think about it, both could be filled with shocking revelations.

*Though born with a skeptical DNA, I'm not a big conspiracy theorist. That said, you watch the Mark Cuban-funded Loose Change documentary and it raises some legit questions. 

Why did the second plane to hit the towers - United Airlines Flight 175 - not look like a commercial passenger plane at all? It had fewer, different-shaped windows and a huge, bulky something protruding from its belly. Why was there a distinctive burst of light on the face of the building just before impact? How did American Airlines Flight 77 - a Boeing 757 that was 125 feet wide and 155 feet long - leave only a 16-foot-wide hole in the wall of the Pentagon? And how were there windows - intact and unbroken - as close as 10 feet from the impact of a jet flying 350 mph into a nine-foot-thick wall of reinforced concrete? 

I don't believe 9/11 was an "inside job." This Popular Mechanics story seems to have all the answers. But I'm still not sure we know all the facts.

*Biggest worry about the Cowboys? Not the departures of Robert Quinn or Byron James or the temporary absence of Sean Lee. It’s the void left by La’el Collins. 

READ MORE: La'el Collins Minor Injury Creates Major Cowboys Problem

While he nurses a hip on injured reserve, Cam Erving will play right tackle. Collins has missed only one game the last three seasons. We worry about Dak Prescott’s blind side. But on Sunday night he better watch what’s rushing right in front of his face.

*As someone who attempts to communicate for a living, I am constantly confounded by the English language and the way Americans butcher it. 

Before tennis practice recently, an equipment representative showed up with his company’s latest rackets. “Anyone want to demo them?” Fast-forward to this week at my house where workers began a bathroom remodeling project. “Today they’re doing the demo.” 

So … “demo” means both “demonstration” and “demolition”.I feel as though somewhere along the ling those have been mixed-up with extremely negative consequences.

*$5 for a Fletcher’s corn dog? Surely, you jest. I’ll miss going to this year’s State Fair of Texas, but I won’t miss whatever kind of “meat” makes up the dog part of that gross “comfort food.” Hard pass.

*Never been a hockey fan, mostly because games are too often decided by luck rather than skill. A puck off a skate into the net? Key baskets in NBA playoff games never ever bounce off a defender’s noggin’. But what the Dallas Stars are accomplishing should bring some long-overdue sports satisfaction to DFW. 

They are the first local franchise to win more than one playoff round/game since the Texas Rangers in 2011. Almost 10 years without a playoff “run” is demoralizing. But the Stars are a pick-me-up on ice.

*This is not a paid endorsement, but I wholly recommend selling a car at CarMax. Sold my mom’s car at the Fort Worth location last weekend and – even with the need for a signed title and vehicle power of attorney without her presence – it was a fair, affordable breeze.

*Those that judge protests only by the worst participants (rioters, looters) should also judge police departments only by the worst officers (those who shoot unarmed victims multiple times in the back).Only fair.

*Buried my stepdad of 29 years a couple weeks ago. Sad, obviously. But upon further review, I’ll sign up right now for living to 90 and dying peacefully in my sleep in my favorite recliner. About as smooth of an exit as you can ask for.

*This Weekend? Saturday is for tennis. Sunday is for … you know. As always, don’t be a stranger.