Arts & Entertainment, Sports

Splitting Splinters: Brady, Ozzie & Olie


There’s too much going on in the sports world right now for me to spend all of my words on just one issue, so excuse me while I pursue the schizophrenic Splinters alternative this week.


Brady Criticizes ESPN for Picking on Patriots

When I woke up and read this headline I honestly thought it was a late-coming April Fools gag or some other joke. I mean honestly, the fine folks at ESPN attack the Patriots about as often as John Madden critiques Brett Favre. If anything these days, you’ll hear more about a pro-Boston bias at the ESPN offices in Bristol.

Brady made his comments while discussing the media’s coverage of Spygate and the meetings between Roger Goodell and former Pats’ assistant Matt Walsh on radio station (WEEI). What’s amazing to me is this O.J. Simpson-like belief that the Patriots did nothing wrong by taping the signals of opposing coaches. Well, if that were true, then why did Goodell take away the Pats’ pick at No. 31 in this year’s draft?

The story is a big deal because New England broke the rules, and breaking the rules is one of the predominant themes in all of sports right now. With the meeting between Walsh and Goodell, there was the potential for more rule infractions to come to light or for the Pats to be exonerated from the charge that they videotaped the Rams prior to their meeting in the Super Bowl. All of those factors make the story newsworthy, and make Brady off base.

Ozzie Guillen’s Latest ‘Blowup’

The politically correct posse has gotten riled up over the White Sox use of female blow-up dolls displayed in their clubhouse. The dolls were posed with bats strategically positioned where the sun don’t shine and a sign that read: “You’ve got to push!”

Many columnists have already chimed in about the display and how distasteful and offensive it is. They’re right, but it’s not nearly as offensive as the “get-over-it” attitude exhibited by White Sox skipper Ozzie Guillen, who refuses to apologize for it. Guillen’s position has been echoed by others who suggest that the clubhouse is a kind of anything-goes area. That’s fine if the area was restricted to just the team personnel, but as the Washington Post’s Mike Wise pointed out in his column Tuesday, for a few hours every day, that space is open to the media, including female journalists.

The effigy was offensive, and the White Sox need to realize that. If the blowup doll wasn’t a woman, but was, say an African American being treated in such a way, there would be a media storm, a march and denunciations by the presidential nominees by sunset.

Is this story as big as Spygate or steroids? No. But the organization needs to acknowledge that it was wrong.

Kolzig Caps Career With Caps

I was really disappointed to read that Olaf “Olie the Goalie” Kolzig would not return the the Capitals next season and would pursue options elsewhere or retire. Kolzig has been synonymous with Washington hockey for as long as I can remember and his work with his charity, Olie’s All-Stars, epitomizes the high-class individual that he is.

While I wish Kolzig wasn’t leaving, the Caps are making the right move. Kolzig can still play and play well, but he’s not getting any younger and his play this season did not suggest that he could effectively bridge the gap to Washington’s young goalie prospects in the minors. Cristobal Huet, who replaced Kolzig late in the season and carried the Caps to wins several times down that amazing 7-0 stretch run, does.

It’s the smart move for the Caps to go full bore after Huet, particularly given the barren crop of free agent goaltenders. Still, it doesn’t make it easy to bid farewell to a local legend like Kolzig. If the Caps can’t win the Cup next year, here’s hoping Olie can latch on with someone who can.