Each week, The Reporters put their thumbs out to the good and the bad in the world of sports. This week they discuss Johnny Manziel, late-night fans at the US Open, UFC president Dana White and the upcoming International Olympic Committee meetings.
Bruce Arthur, National Post: My thumb is up to Johnny Manziel, the Heisman-winning, Texas A&M quarterbacking, moneyed-family, hell-raising ball of fire who had to sit out of the first half of Saturday's win over Rice. It was punishment for allegedly signed autographs for cash, something which is only illegal for celebrities in the NCAA. The NCAA couldn't or wouldn't prove it, but decided a half of football would learn him. It was a ridiculous penalty, and one Manziel appeared to mock by pretending to refuse an autograph to a Rice defender just before his first touchdown pass. So why thumbs up? Because Johnny Football keeps getting more famous, and as he does, he is putting the lie to the NCAA's rules so easily. And he's making it so much fun.
Steve Simmons, Sun Media: My thumb is up to the late-night fans at the US Open, who grab this tennis tournament and take it to another level. Where else do you see matches starting at 11pm et or Midnight and a crowd hanging in to the end, not leaving early, wanting to see the last of James Blake, or just another match with Serena Williams or Roger Federer as we saw the last few nights. I've been fortunate enough to get to sporting events all over the world but for me, there's nothing quite like the US Open with its late nights and crowd participation in the city that never sleeps.
Michael Farber, Sports Illustrated: My thumb is down to UFC president Dana White for a lack of curiosity. White said this week he wants to take his cartoonish brand of martial arts to Russia. When asked about Russia's new anti-gay legislation and the furor surrounding it regarding the Sochi Olympics, White said, "No, I know nothing about it." Unless you were vacationing on Mars, this was a tough story to miss. Newspapers, television networks, Twitterverse, even people who comment on sports were talking about it. Maybe you won't let Russian law stand in the way of a buck, but pay attention.
Dave Hodge, TSN: My thumb is down to any mention of the true spirit of amateur sport when the International Olympic Committee meets next week in Buenos Aires to choose a new president and a host city for 2020. Let me read from an Associated Press story that previewed this IOC session: "Prime ministers, royalty, sports stars and celebrities will be part of an election extravaganza that will have the flavour of a political carnival, replete with last-minute campaigning, backstage vote-chasing and round-the-clock lobbying by spin doctors, consultants and strategists." The important thing is not to take part, but to win.