2010 Year-End Sports Review: What We Already Knew

Let’s be honest: Sports bloggers know everything. Just ask us. As part of our 2010 Year-End Sports Review, our list of things we already knew this year includes Brad Childress’ biggest fail, Wade Phillips’ demise in Dallas and John Calipari’s troubles. We also knew Kevin Durant was the next great superstar (who didn’t see that coming?), Roger Clemens is the ultimate windbag and that “Matty Ice” knows fourth-quarter comebacks. We should have gone to medical school…

Contributors: Anthony Stalter, John Paulsen, Paul Costanzo, Drew Ellis and Mike Farley

LeBron is a frontrunner.

We all were a little surprised that LeBron left Cleveland, but the writing was on the wall. Growing up, LeBron didn’t root for the local teams. He followed the Yankees, Bulls and Cowboys, which in the 1990s constituted the Holy Triumvirate of Frontrunning. He wore his Yankee cap to an Indians game and was seen hobnobbing on the Cowboy sidelines during a Browns game. He says he’s loyal, but he’s only loyal to winners…unless they only win in the regular season, of course.

July 08, 2010 - Greenwich, CONNECTICUT, United States - epa02241974 Handout photo from ESPN showing LaBron James (L), NBA's reigning two-time MVP, as he ends months of speculation and announces 08 July 2010 on ESPN 'The Decision' in Greenwich, Connecticut, USA, that he will go to the Miami Heat where he will play basketball next 2010-11 season. James said his decision was based on the fact that he wanted to play with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

Brad Childress’ biggest flaw cost him his job in the end.

There were many reasons why the Vikings decided to fire head coach Brad Childress roughly a year after they signed him to a contract extension. One of the reasons was because he lost with a talented roster. Another was because he never quite figured out how to best utilize Adrian Peterson, which is a sin given how talented AP is. But the main reason “Chilly” was ousted in Minnesota was because he didn’t know how to manage NFL-caliber personalities. He didn’t know how to handle Brett Favre, which led to blowups on the sidelines and multiple face-to-face confrontations. He also didn’t have a clue how to deal with Randy Moss’ crass attitude, so he released him just four weeks after the team acquired him in a trade from New England. Childress was hired in part to help clean up the mess in Minnesota after the whole “Love Boat” scandal. But the problem with a disciplinarian that hasn’t first earned respect is that his demands fall on deaf ears. In the end, Childress’ inability to command respect from his players cost him his job. You know, on top of the fact that he was losing with a talented roster, he didn’t know how to best utilize Adrian Peterson, he…

Love him or hate him, George Steinbrenner will forever be one of baseball’s icons.

You may have hated his brash attitude, the way he ran his team or the way he conducted his business. You may even feel that he ruined baseball. But regardless of how you may have felt about him, there’s little denying that George Steinbrenner will forever be one of Major League Baseball’s icons. Steinbrenner passed away in July of this year. He will forever be a man known for helping revolutionize the business side of baseball by being the first owner to sell TV cable rights to the MSG Network. When things eventually went south with MSG, he created the YES Network, which is currently the Yankees’ very own TV station that generates millions in revenue. During his tenure, he took the Yankees from a $10 million franchise to a $1.2 billion juggernaut. In 2005, the Yankees became the first professional sports franchise to be worth an estimated one billion dollars. While many baseball fans came to despise the way he ran his team (mainly because he purchased high priced free agents with reckless abandon due to the fact that he could and others couldn’t), don’t miss the message he often made year in and year out: The Yankees are here to win. He didn’t line his pockets with extra revenue (albeit he generated a lot of extra revenue for his club) – he dumped his money back into the on-field product. Losing wasn’t acceptable and if the Bombers came up short one year, you could bet that Steinbrenner would go after the best talent in the offseason, regardless of what others thought of the approach. How many Pirates and Royals fans wish they had an owner with the same appetite for victory?

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Police search offices of Blue Jays, turn over documents on Clemens

WASHINGTON - FEBRUARY 13:  Major League Baseball pitcher Roger Clemens testifies about allegations of steroid use by professional ball players before the U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Capitol Hill February 13, 2008 in Washington, DC. The 'Mitchell Report' named several former and current major league baseball players, including Clemens, who are accused of using steroids or other performance-enhancing drugs.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

According to a report by FOX Sports.com, police officers searched the offices of the Toronto Blue Jays and turned over documents in connection with former MLB’er Roger Clemens.

Two officers executed the search in the last few weeks and assisted the U.S. Justice Department by forwarding the material they obtained, police spokesman Const. Tony Vella said Thursday.

Vella called it a U.S. investigation and declined further comment. He said he could not say if they obtained medical records.

Clemens pleaded not guilty last month to charges of lying to Congress about whether he used steroids or human growth hormone. Federal prosecutors didn’t believe Clemens’ testimony to Congress, and they subsequently charged him with making false statements, perjury and obstruction of Congress.

I get the feeling that there’s already enough evidence for a conviction, but the U.S. Justice Department isn’t going to stop doing its home work until they have enough to debunk anything Clemens says in court. Meanwhile, “The Rocket” continues to maintain his innocence because of 1) his ego, 2) he doesn’t want to lose future earnings due to a damaged reputation and 3) he wants to be elected into baseball’s Hall of Fame.

I wonder what would have happened had Pete Rose admitted to gambling on baseball as soon as he was caught. Would MLB have taken pity on him by now? Would he have eventually been inducted into the Hall?

Maybe Clemens should be asking himself the same questions.

Why Roger Clemens would rather go to jail than admit guilt

Former Major League Baseball pitcher Roger Clemens leaves the U.S. District Court House after his arraignment hearing in Washington on August 30, 2010. Clemens is being charged with making false statements, perjury and obstructing Congress in his congressional testimony on his alleged use of performance enhancing drugs.  UPI/Kevin Dietsch Photo via Newscom

I don’t know Roger Clemens and despite the advances in modern technology, I still think we’re a couple of years away from being able to walk around in someone’s head to help understand what they’re thinking.

That means I can only speculate as to why Clemens decided to plead not guilty on Monday to charges of lying to Congress about whether he ever used steroids or human growth hormone. Or better yet, why he also decided not to accept a plea agreement in order to face a lighter sentence.

But the reason, I speculate (along with the fact that he could lose future earnings and the chance of being elected to baseball’s Hall of Fame), is rather simple. Had he accepted the plea deal, he would have admitted guilt to everything: taking steroids, for lying about taking steroids and for calling Brian McNamee a liar. (And there’s no doubt that Clemens wants to give into McNamee – even if it meant that he would stay out of prison.)

Even if Clemens has told a shred of truth over these past couple of years, it won’t matter. All people will care about is that he a) cheated the game and b) lied about cheating the game.

That’s why I think he’d rather go to jail maintaining his innocence than be deemed a liar. That may sound ridiculous to most people and it should, but we’re talking about someone facing hard evidence and yet he continues to deny that he used steroids. Keep in mind that even if he does get locked up, he can still say that the judicial system screwed him or he was wrongfully accused.

Here’s another thought: He has bought into his lie. There are some people in this world that tie a lie so many times that they start to believe it. They’ve repeated to themselves enough times that they’re 6’3” and 230 pounds of shredded muscle that when they look in the mirror, the person starring back at them is 6’3” and 220 pounds. (Now you know what I do before I got to bed each night…right before I cry myself to sleep.)

Either way, I think “Rocket” is lying. And either way, I think he’ll go down maintaining his innocence, even if he eventually winds up behind bars.

Report: Roger Clemens turned down plea agreement

New York Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens testifies before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the Mitchell Report and its allegations that Clemens used performance enhancing drugs on Capitol Hill in Washington on February 13, 2008. (UPI Photo/Kevin Dietsch) Photo via Newscom Photo via Newscom

According to a report by ESPN.com, Roger Clemens was offered a plea agreement but his attorney Rusty Hardin said that his client declined the offer.

“The government made a recommendation [for a plea agreement] and we declined,” Hardin said. “I will tell you the recommendation they made was a very good one if he was guilty. And if he was guilty we would have jumped on it. Everybody has all this great solicitous advice, all the media and you guys — ESPN. Nobody is answering the question: What if he didn’t do it, what should he have done? And everybody wants him to confess.

“I have even heard people suggest that even if he didn’t do it he should have said he did so that everybody will move on. That is a helluva commentary.”

Hardin reiterated he and his staff have drilled Clemens on the need to fess up, if he did steroids or human growth hormone.

“He’s been told from the beginning if he did it he ought to do exactly what Andy [Pettitte] did. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that. And everybody assumes it is his arrogance and his ego that kept him from doing it.

“He wasn’t the greatest witness before Congress, I understand that. But I got to tell you, we’ve sat on him probably for 100 of our hours over the last two-and-a-half years, always with the same thing: ‘If you did it, the best thing to do is just admit it and move on and we’ll deal with it.’ He has never, ever wavered.”

Talk about rolling the dice. If he’s guilty and he didn’t accept this deal when he had the chance, then he’s absolutely out of his mind. The government has essentially given him a nice out and he decided not to take it, so he’s either truly innocent or clinically insane.

I will give Clemens this – he has maintained his innocence throughout this whole ordeal. He’s never wavered in his denial about talking steroids and obviously he’s willing to go to extreme measures to prove his innocence. One would think that if he were guilty, he would have taken the deal and then faced the public scrutiny to avoid jail time.

Of course, I wouldn’t put it past Clemens to go to jail and maintain his innocence, rather than accept a plea agreement and admit that he’s been lying this entire time. Even if he’s proven guilty in the court of law, he could continue to tell the public that he never juiced and that he was screwed by the judicial system.

What a mess.

“Rocket” once again denies taking HGH or steroids, lying to Congress

Former New York Yankee Major League Baseball pitcher Roger Clemens is flanked by his lawyers while testifying before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearing on The Mitchell Report: The Illegal Use of Steroids in Major League Baseball, on Capitol Hill in Washington in this February 13, 2008 file photograph. Clemens, one of the best pitchers in the sport's history, has been indicted on a series of charges related to lying to the U.S. Congress during an investigation into doping, court papers said. Picture taken February 13, 2008.  REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/Files  (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS SPORT BASEBALL CRIME LAW)

After he was indicted yesterday on charges of making false statements to Congress during his testimony about his use of performance-enhancing drugs, Roger Clemens made a statement via his Twitter page denying that he ever used steroids.

I never took HGH or Steroids. And I did not lie to Congress. I look forward to challenging the Governments accusations, and hope people will keep an open mind until trial. I appreciate all the support I have been getting. I am happy to finally have my day in court.


Is it just me, or does anyone else think there’s something sad about the way Clemens signs off as “Rocket” at the end of his note? That’s his nickname of course, but it almost feels like he’s trying to play to the crowd that beloved him during his playing days.

Regardless, if you’re innocent, you shout it from the rooftops as much as possible – just like Clemens has done. It’s also important to keep in mind that he has never been proven guilty of anything as of this point.

But given how much evidence there is linking him to performance-enhancing drugs, I can’t help but to think about the Dana Carevy stand-up routine when he pokes fun at the O.J. Simpson trial.

Here sits a mountain of forensic evidence and Roger’s like, “Why we even havin’ a trial?”

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