WHITT’S END: 7.30.21
*I hate New York, because the Knicks stole Rolando Blackman, Derek Harper and Jason Kidd from the Dallas Mavericks. But then again I love New York, because they swallowed Dennis Smith Jr.
But wait, I hate New York more because they burdened us with Kristaps Porzingis.
No, I love New York because the Yankees freed the Texas Rangers from Alex Rodriguez and Rougned Odor, and sent us the likes of Jon Wetteland, Mickey Rivers and Goose Gossage.
No, hate, because the Yanks saddled us with Billy Martin, Sparky Lyle and Chad Curtis. Oh, and they nabbed from us Gaylord Perry and Ruben Sierra. Definitely hate. And more hate of New York, because not only did the Giants take away from the Dallas Cowboys players such as Everson Walls, Dwayne Harris and Chris Canty, they recycled Herschel Walker back to us and the Jets shoved Bill Parcells down our throats.
I now hate New York because it took away Joey Gallo. But I’ve always loved New York because it bestowed upon DFW a man named Tom Landry.
I’m conflicted about New York.
*Sorry Simone Biles, GOATs don’t quit. The most decorated gymnast in American history has a story dreams are made of. She overcame an impoverished childhood in Houston and sexual abuse at the hands of U.S. Gymnastics’ medical team to become an American hero and positive role model.
But … she should not get a pass for quitting on her teammates at the Tokyo Olympics.
Imagine: Dak Prescott wins a couple NFL MVPs, proclaims himself the best quarterback in the history of football and leads the Cowboys to the Super Bowl. But then, in the fourth quarter, the pressure of the moment gets to him and he takes himself out of the game. He stays on the sideline and waves a towel in support of his teammates, but the Cowboys lose.
Does Dak get praised for his “courage”? No. Friggin’. Way.
When Biles adorned her leotard with a rhinestone GOAT logo, she yanked the spotlight on herself and demanded our attention and adoration. “Greatest Of All Time!” As the Bible verse goes, “To whom much is given, much is required.”
Biles may have suffered a mental health crisis in Japan under what she called the “weight of the world”, but it was self-inflicted. She proclaimed herself GOAT. She willingly accepted mega million-dollar endorsement deals with Nike, Nabisco and Uber to become the American face of the 2020 Olympics.
You can’t anoint yourself the prettiest girl in the world, and then hide from the cameras on a bad hair day.
Look, mental health is a real issue and society has come a long way in learning about its debilitating effects on athletes. But if Biles felt this overwhelming pressure entering the Olympics, she should’ve stepped aside before the event and given her spot to a more capable teammate. Now that would have been courageous. But in old-school terms, Biles “choked.”
While I sympathize, I also refuse to give her an excused absence. She wore a blinking neon sign that demanded our attention. Now she wishes we’d look the other way while she crumbles under the pressure.
Sorry, GOATs don’t quit.
*As expected, lots of folks disagree with my opinion of Biles. Including Prescott, who went public with his mental-health struggles during COVID and after the suicide of his brother in 2020.
“I was genuine and transparent about myself and my struggles, telling people that it’s okay not to be okay,” Prescott said. “That’s her decisions (to withdraw from Olympic competition). Obviously she was feeling some things that didn’t necessarily make her feel comfortable to perform. I understand where she’s coming from. It’s not up to me to judge that.”
*A busy draft night in the NBA saw a kid from Arlington Bowie High School (Cade Cunningham) picked No. 1 overall, triple-double machine Russell Westbrook get traded to join LeBron James and Anthony Davis on the Lakers and your Mavericks do … zzz.
Their picks were long gone, thanks to trades that acquired Porzingis (first round) and J.J. Redick/Nicolo Melli.
*Languishing smack-dab in the middle of a protracted rebuilding, we shouldn’t be surprised that the Rangers traded Gallo to the Yankees. Nor – if history has taught us anything – should we be quick to judge the deal. We know Gallo hit “bombs” and “#joeyjacks” with epic exit velocity to set off the fireworks at Globe Life Field, and we’ll miss that. He was a home-grown product that was loyal, played hard and turned into an elite defender. What we don’t know is what the Rangers got in return: shortstop Josh Smith (Yankees’ No. 14 prospect per MLB Pipeline), second baseman Ezequiel Duran (No. 15), outfielder Trevor Hauver (No. 23) and pitcher Glenn Otto (No. 28). The deal exchanged the present for a potential future.
Don’t like it? Wait. Deep breaths.
It was 14 years ago that the 47-59 Rangers dealt slugger Mark Teixeira to the Atlanta Braves for a bushel of nobodies. Three years later, Elvis Andrus, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Neftali Feliz and Matt Harrison helped the Rangers to the World Series.
*Well, those two months living without masks – or fear – sure were fun. Thanks to the unvaccinated, here we go again.
Mask mandates for indoors are looming as the delta variant of COVID mutates and spreads. How bad is it? Baylor Scott & White Health is requiring its employees to get the vaccine by Oct. 1. That’s all staff members, volunteers, students, vendors and contract workers. BS&WH isn’t political or agenda-driven, but merely the largest healthcare system in North Texas. It cares about one thing: saving lives.
Do you really think you know more about COVID and its vaccine than career medical professionals? No, you don’t. Now go get vaccinated, so this lingering pandemic doesn’t get worse before it finally gets better.
*How does the Pro Football Hall of Fame cram two classes into one weekend? With a home “delivery” of sorts. When the Cowboys kick-off football season against the Pittsburgh Steelers Thursday night in the Hall of Fame Game, it will commence likely the busiest weekend in the history of Canton, Ohio. The 2021 class – including the Cowboys’ Drew Pearson and Jimmy Johnson – will be inducted.
But also, let’s not forget the class of 2020 – including the Cowboys’ Cliff Harris – that was postponed last year by COVID. To fast-track the process,
PFHOF organizers will limit 2020 presenters to videotaped “speeches.”
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“They came right to my house and taped it,” says former Cowboys’ safety Charlie Waters, who will present his co-safety and long-time friend, Harris. “It’s going to be strange to squeeze two of them together, but Cliff feels like his class is going to get the attention it deserves. I’m satisfied that my video will represent my feelings about Cliff.”
Waters told me he will be in Canton next week for the unveiling of Harris’ immortal bust. Highlight of his presenting speech: “Every week coach Landry would show us an offensive player from the other team that we had to key on … that we couldn’t let beat us. Well, Cliff just went out and knocked about half of them out of the game early. He had a vicious way of following the game plan.”
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*I’m on record as merely tolerating dogs and we’re all supposed to hate our exes, but I have a soft, teary place for both this week. Before I met her, Sybil Summers was alerted by a neighbor in Arlington to a mysterious laundry basket in the middle of the street. What was in it changed her life – and positively affected mine – forever. A tiny, malnourished Pit Bull/Boxer mix of a puppy was in that basket. Traumatized and wide-eyed. Scared, silent and confused. Bound with duct tape and phone cord, she was left for dead. Possibly even tortured.
Those of you that know my ex-wife realize she is DFW’s No. 1 dog advocate. Tireless in promoting dog charities, emceeing puppy events and even working a passion play of a side-hustle as a dog sitter. Sybil saved the puppy from the laundry basket, taking her to the vet for shots and treatment for worms, and feeding her cereal with whole milk to beef her up. She named her “Duncan” after the San Antonio Spurs’ superstar (hey, no fairy tale is perfect) and gave her a healthy, happy life for almost 15 years.
I lived with Duncan. Ate with Duncan. Ran with Duncan. Moved with Duncan. Loved with Duncan. She is a gentle soul and an obedient friend who – you could just tell – appreciates every day of being kept safe. Being saved from that basket.
Horrible news this week when Sybil called to tell me Duncan has to be put down, her body ravaged by cysts and tumors.
I’m accompanying, and hopefully comforting, both of them to the vet Friday morning. R.I.P., Duncan.
*Even when he’s away from the Mavs, Luka Doncic is making history. After his dazzling Tokyo debut for Slovenia, he is now the only player to have a 45-point game in both the NBA and the Olympics.
*Speaking of Waters, for my money he should be the next Cowboy inducted into the Ring of Honor. All the sudden Gil Brandt was the last inductee back in 2018. We know Jerry Jones will get around to players like Tony Romo, DeMarcus Ware and Jason Witten soon enough. But Waters’ resume demands reconsideration:
Played in five Super Bowls, winning two. Multiple All-Pro and Pro Bowls. Played 12 seasons in Dallas, never on a team with a losing record. Still third on the team’s all-time interceptions list. Still tied for first on the NFL’s all-time list of postseason interceptions. Also blocked six punts in his career and twice won Sports Illustrated’s old “Unsung Hero” award.
“It’s discouraging and I’m trying to get over it,” Waters says. “But it’s a struggle. I don’t know the answer to why I’m not in. You’ll have to ask Jerry, the committee of one.”
Waters said he cherishes letters of recommendation for the Ring of Honor written by teammates to Jones.
“I’ll read them every once in a while to cheer me up,” he admits. “At least I know what my teammates thought of me, and that’s good enough for me. Has to be.”
Waters, for what it’s worth, played quarterback in high school and receiver at Clemson before being moved to safety with the Cowboys.
“I’d never made a tackle in my life,” he joked. “But that was the genius of Gil Brandt.”
*Didn’t take long for the trickle-down effect of NIL. With college players now able to profit off their “name, image and likeness”, everyone wants a piece of the pie. Even those not yet in college.
Southlake Carroll quarterback Quinn Ewers is the No. 1 high-school football player in America. Only 18, he has 82,000 Instagram followers and a verbal commitment to play at Ohio State. He also, of course, has a desire to make as much money as soon as possible. Since Texas high school rules forbid player monetization, Ewers said this week he’s seriously considering forgoing his senior season at Southlake Carroll to enroll early at Ohio State where, sure enough, he can start cashing in on his NIL.
Troubling unintended consequences? Or just capitalism at work?
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*There are some NFL teams that would like to have the Yankees’ 3-4-5 hitters – Aaron Judge (6-7, 282) , Giancarlo Stanton (6-6, 245) and Gallo (6-5, 235) – along their defensive line.
*Underrated sports success right in our back yard: Rockwall’s Black Star Sport Horses equestrian rider Isabella Fielder has qualified for the prestigious FEI North American Youth Championship (NAYC) and will compete with 200+ athletes from eight countries. Renowned Olympic Dressage Coach Johann Hinnemann was at Black Star this week to help “Bella” prepare for NAYC. Hinnemann is one of the most sought-after dressage trainers in the world, and has three students competing at the Olympics in Tokyo.
*Over the last 365 the Rangers are 58-102. But, hey, at least we have air-conditioning! Obviously, weather takes a back seat to winning. Example: This year the Rangers are 30 games under .500 and are averaging 27,589 in the climate-controlled, 72-degree comfort of Globe Life Field. In late July 2011, DFW was in the midst of its second-hottest summer on record with 40 consecutive days of 100+ degrees. Average attendance in that World Series season at open-air Globe Life Park: 36,382.
*One last dandy from Waters: To “get my mind right” for training camp, he on three occasions rode his motorcycle from Dallas to Thousand Oaks, California. “I’d stay in these little motels along the way and just relax,” he said. “It was my journey to start my longer journey.”
They don’t make NFL players like they used to.
*Kraft debuted a Macaroni & Cheese-flavored ice cream this week and it sold out in two hours, crashing the company’s web site. Shocking that America is the fattest country on the planet.
*RANGERS RISK: We all think the Texas Rangers are going to be putrid this season. Our lil’ roundtable revealed predicted win totals of anywhere between 61 and 78, but no one thinks .500 is plausible. Let’s put our money where our mouth is. I’m going to bet a virtual $100 against the Rangers every game this season and, after six months and 162 games, see where I wind up. I’ll keep a running tab right there each Friday and come September I’ll (wink) disperse my profits to my most loyal readers. RECORD: 36-66 TOTAL: +$1,364.
*Shouldn’t we be a tad concerned about Prescott’s sore throwing shoulder? He and the team say it’s nothing, but with all the time away from the field rehabbing his ankle shouldn’t his arm have been fresher and stronger than ever entering training camp? And did a week in Oxnard really feature that much more throwing than a week of OTAs recently in Frisco?
Hopefully it’s nothing, but …
*This Weekend? Friday is for saying goodbye to an old friend. Saturday-Sunday let’s head to Lake Hawkins in east Texas. Doing it now, because next week at this time it’ll be football season. As always, don’t be a stranger.