Each week, The Reporters put their thumbs out to the good and the bad in the world of sports. This week, they discuss the Toronto Raptors signing Demar DeRozan to a four-year deal, the Atlanta Falcons, Rory McIlroy and the shooting range in Port Coquitlam, BC.
Bruce Arthur, National Post: My thumb is down to the Toronto Raptors, but not for starting the season with two narrow losses, since we're used to that around here. No, it's for committing at least four years and $38-million to shooting guard Demar DeRozan minutes before the season began. DeRozan is a nice kid who works hard and it's not his fault Toronto decided to overpay him three seasons into a career in which he has not actually improved. He can score - he had 25 points in Brooklyn Saturday night - but inefficiently, and he doesn't do much else. New point guard Kyle Lowry is a budding star and rookie Jonas Valanciunas has all kinds of potential, but this was a mistake. I guess we're used to those around here, too.
Steve Simmons, Sun Media: My thumb is up, and I've never said this before, to the Atlanta Falcons - The best team in the National Football League and the only undefeated team hitting their halfway point of the season Sunday night. These are nobody's Falcons, who have never won a Super Bowl, only been there once, and the only reason they got there was because someone else missed a field goal. Now they have Canadian Thomas Dimitroff at the top as GM with little known Mike Smith as head coach and quarterback Matt Ryan as the highest rated passer in the game throwing to the dangerous trio of Roddy White, Julio Jones and the ageless Tony Gonzalez. Maybe, just maybe, this is their year. And honest, I've never said that before either.
Michael Farber, Sports Illustrated: My thumb is up to Rory McIlroy for making the switch from Titleist equipment to, apparently, Nike for 2013. Now, McIlroy might not be quite as good at golf for a while as he grows accustomed to the new clubs and balls, but the world No. 1 will be even better at math. Nike reportedly will pay McIlroy $250 million over 10 years to play the swoosh, which rockets the 23-year-old up the money list before he sticks a tee in the ground. A fretful Nick Faldo called McIlroy'S impending change "dangerous" - and clearly Sir Nick is correct. The danger is McIlroy getting a hernia carrying around all that Nike cash.
Dave Hodge, TSN: My thumb is down to the shooting range in Port Coquitlam, BC, - DVC by name - for offering as a target for its gun-loving customers, a caricature of NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. Normally, the sights are set on drawings of zombies, although the proprietors would tell you that Bettman isn't the first living cartoon figure shot between the eyes there - Justin Bieber is said to be a popular choice. Apparently, this is all in fun, or the "bullets for Bettman" idea is a way for hockey fans to release their lockout frustration in a harmless way. Well, did I say my thumb was down? Trigger finger, too, for that matter.