7:14 PM EDT, April 26, 2013
Running off at the typewriter…
Where did Dwight Howard finish in the NBA Defensive Player of the Year voting?
Well, let me put it this way: You need a deep-water SEAL rescue unit just to find his name. Dwight, who was the perennial Defensive Player of the Year when he played for the Magic, finished 14th this year, behind such stalwarts as Avery Bradley and Larry Sanders.
If I've written it once, I've written it a million times: Do you think the notion that he blew it big-time has penetrated Dwight's enormous ego yet? Do you think he realizes he was bigger in Orlando than he will ever be anywhere else? Do you think he now understands that in today's digitally and electronically compressed world that he was a global icon right here in Central Florida?
He set an NBA record with more than 3 million all-star votes right here in Orlando. He was the league's MVP runner-up right here in Orlando. He had all the national endorsements right here in Orlando. And he was the NBA Defensive Player of the Year three straight times and being compared to the legendary Bill Russell as a defensive presence right here in Orlando.
Now, he is one of the most unpopular players in the league and getting hammered by the local media in L.A and the national media from coast to coast.
Moral of the story: The grass isn't always greener on the other side of the fence. Often times, it's just the weeds mowed down to look like grass.
Short stuff: Speaking of Dwight, he made Jay Leno's monologue on the Tonight Show earlier this week. Cracked Leno in reference to Dwight's reported baby mama drama: "Dwight Howard, who reportedly has had four children by four different mothers, is expecting a fifth child with a fifth woman. Apparently, his aim in the bedroom is better than it is at the foul line." … A moment of silence, please. George Jones has just gone to That Big Honky Tonk in the Sky. My favorite lyric from a Jones song: "Mighty, mighty pleasin, pappy's corn squeezin' – whshhhoooh … white lightnin'!" … I get a kick out of those people who try to discredit FSU's EJ Manuel – the only QB taken in the first round of the NFL draft -- by saying he didn't win any big games with the Seminoles. Really? Didn't he beat South Carolina in a bowl game? Didn't he beat Notre Dame in a bowl game (playing on a broken leg)? Didn't he lead the Seminoles to 12 wins this season, their first ACC title in seven years and their first BCS bowl victory in more than a decade? By the way, how many big victories in college did Peyton Manning and Tom Brady have? ...
NFL Network draft "insider" Mike Mayock should be ashamed of himself for the way he handled University of Florida defensive tackle Sharif Floyd's slide down the draft board on Thursday night. Mayock, who predicted all along that Floyd would get chosen with the second or third pick in the draft, questioned Floyd's integrity when he started sliding. Mayock said he'd received some texts from NFL sources citing some nebulous character concerns about Floyd and also some uneasiness about the fact that he had just five college sacks. What a crock of crud. If Mayock is such an insider, you'd think he would know about these supposed character issues and the five college sacks before draft night. … David Letterman: "The New York Jets say they will take the best athlete possible in the draft. They're going to take the best athlete available. It's the same strategy the Kardashian sisters use." … Iconic broadcaster Al Michaels, who became famous when he called the 1980 U.S. hockey team's victory over the Soviet Union in the Olympics, was arrested for DUI the other day. His new catchphrase: "Do you believe in margaritas?!!!" … A belated happy birthday to William Shakespeare, who turned 449 earlier this week. Even today, he is quoted in NFL draft rooms all over the country: "QB or not QB – that is the question." … Last word: Now that the Jaguars have taken Texas A&M tackle Luke Joeckel with their first-round pick, doesn't that make Jacksonville fans a bunch of Joeckel yokels? …
Don't forget, you can click on OrlandoSentinel.com and read the wildly popular Open Mike blog and interactive extravaganza to get my freshest takes on what's happening in the world of sports. Here's a blog about Orlando Predators coach Doug Plank's thoughts on gay players in football locker rooms:
Count Orlando Predators coach Doug Plank, a former NFL player and coach, as someone who isn't buying what CBSSports.com writer Mike Freeman is selling about how it would be no big deal if an active NFL player came out of the closet and revealed he is gay.
Said Plank on our Open Mike radio show a few days ago: "Everybody tries to be politically correct … especially people who operate in business and other public occupations. But you get inside an NFL locker room, I tell you what, it's something else. It's a jungle in there. … Last time I was in an NFL locker room, changing clothes every day and getting ready to go out to practice, I just think that would be a very, very tough environment for someone to come forward and say they have different sexual orientation."
Even though the world has changed dramatically since Plank played for the Chicago Bears in the 1970s and 1980s, he's not so sure NFL locker rooms have evolved at the same pace. He served as an assistant coach with the Atlanta Falcons (2008) and New York Jets (2009) and says being openly gay is much easier "outside the locker room" than inside.
"We've certainly seen so much more acceptance (outside the locker room)," Plank said. "It's almost normal now. It's not a big issue. But there are still those last bastions that are left and sports is one of them. You get into a locker room with these types of individuals that are very, very driven and very physical, and I think it's still an issue."
What do you believe?
Do you think an openly gay player in an NFL locker room would be accepted or rejected?
(Most interesting reader retorts, radio rabble, tangy tweets and message-board mockery of the week):
On so many linemen being taken in the first round of the NFL draft: "The only thing unsexier than this draft is The Shot Doctor."
On country music icon George Jones passing away on Friday: "We won't stop loving him today."
On Orlando not bidding to become part of college football playoff system: "I guess we didn't want to jeopardize our ability to host the monster trucks."
In honor of the NFL draft, three of my favorite quotes about football:
"The reason women don't play football is because 11 of them would never wear the same outfit in public." – Phyllis Diller
"I don't know if I prefer Astroturf to grass. I never smoked Astroturf." – Joe Namath
"Most football players are temperamental. That's 90 percent temper and 10 percent mental." – Doug Plank
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