Each week, The Reporters put their thumbs out to the good and the bad in the world of sports. This week, they discuss the NCAA's revenue sharing, Don Zimmer, soccer language and Super Bowl 50.
Dave Naylor, TSN Radio 1050: My thumb is down to world of big-time American college sports, which reminded us again this week there is no end to hypocrisy when it comes to sharing wealth with its players. This week Alabama football coach Nick Saban and Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari were rewarded with contracts worth more than $50 million each. This comes just as the NCAA is about to begin defending its right not to share revenues with players; in the lawsuit filed by former UCLA basketball star Ed O'Bannon, which starts on Monday. How the NCAA can argue there's not enough money in the system to compensate players when coaches like Saban and Calapari can earn more than $6 million a year should be interesting. But we just know they'll find a way to do it.
Dave Feschuk, Toronto Star: My thumb is up to baseball characters. May they live forever in our memory, even as they leave us. The game lost an unforgettable one this week with the passing of Don Zimmer. In a sport built on stories, his was a pure classic. Zimmer met Babe Ruth as a boy, got married to his high-school sweetheart at home plate of a minor-league park, played with Jackie Robinson and won a World Series with the Brooklyn Dodgers. He'll probably be remembered best for charging Pedro Martinez back in 2003, when Zimmer was in his 70's at the time. As he said later, "I sure wasn't going over there to kiss him." Baseball's heroes aren't always so easy to embrace. So often today we focus on money and moneyball. Zimmer's life was about finding a love and fighting to keep it. He loved baseball so much, it nearly killed him. As a player, he survived two fastballs to the head. One put him in a coma, another caved in his face. He kept playing after both. He got fired four times as a manager, but he never retired. Nobody ever wanted him to. For characters as unique as Zimmer, there are no replacements.
Michael Farber, Sports Illustrated: As I said four years ago, and plan to say again in 2018, my thumb is down to anybody in this country who plans to speak world cup soccer English for the next month. I don't want anyone saying a goalkeeper had a clean sheet. Clean sheets are in your linen closet. He had a shutout. The score, maybe, was one nothing, not one nil. And please don't tell me the United States needs a result against Ghana. A loss is a result, not a good result, but a result. And just so we're clear, it's not football here, it's soccer. Alright, now carry on and keep calm.
Dave Hodge, TSN: My thumb is up, though not for long, to the National Football League for deciding to ditch the Roman numeral "l" for super bowl 50, to be played in February of 2016. The use of Roman numerals began with super bowl 5, sorry, "v", and it has proved to be very successful - in creating confusion. Now that couldn't have been its intention, but what else, pray tell, was it supposed to do? Make the event seem bigger than it is? It needs no help from an ancient alphabet. But, as I said, the NFL is praised here only briefly, because it will return to Roman numerals for super bowl 51 - LI - and there's no end in sight, unless it's super bowl 59, which will read LIX, and maybe the NFL won't be fond of Super Bowl licks, which come to think of it, was last season's super bowl - Denver taking its licks from Seattle.