Each week, The Reporters put their thumbs out to the good and the bad in the world of sports. This week, they discuss the NBA's fine on the Toronto Raptors, the ice bucket challenge, Candlestick Park and Jimmy Graham's reaction to the NFL's goal-post no dunking" rule.
Bruce Arthur, Toronto Star
My thumb is up to the $25,000 tampering fine that the NBA levied against the Toronto Raptors this week. The fine came after the rapper Drake, the team's unpaid but omnipresent global ambassador, spotted league MVP Kevin Durant in the crowd during a Toronto concert and all but openly recruited him with the aid of a chanting crowd. So, the team received the fine, and it's about time. Drake is popular in NBA circles, and you can bet he's talked to guys like Durant off-stage, too. In the NBA, the best players choose their destinations, and even if the NBA insists they never asked for Drake's removal as ambassador, that makes him sound like a threat, right? Which, he may yet be. And finally, with this fine, the Raptors have at least paid something for his services.
Steve Simmons, Sun Media
My thumb is up to the ice bucket challenge, the charitable campaign inspired and enhanced by social media that has worked so well to raise money for the dreadful disease ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. Suddenly, in recent days we've seen the likes of Sidney Crosby, Gary Bettman, Henrik Lundqvist, P.K. Subban from the hockey world and other athletes and celebrities dumping a bucket of ice over their head inspiring donations worldwide, the likes of which we have never seen before. A year ago this timeframe, ALS had raised $32,000 in a two-week period. Since the ice bucket challenge began, the brainchild of former college baseball player and ALS sufferer Peter Frates, more than $5.5 million has been pledged. Sometimes a simple idea, for all the right reasons, with the aid of social media, can go an awfully long way.
Michael Farber, Sports Illustrated
My thumb is up to memories of San Francisco's Candlestick Park, the 54-year-old stadium whose swan song was sung this week at a concert by Paul McCartney. It was fitting Sir Paul closed the place considering the Beatles gave their last live performance there, in 1966. Candlestick chilled the body. Giants fans wore parkas in June. But it often warmed the sporting soul. This was hallowed ground where Willie Mays roamed center field and Joe Montana connected with Dwight Clark on "the catch." The 'Stick held up well, especially during the '89 World Series as I sat worriedly in the auxiliary press box during the Loma Prieta earthquake. For that, and for everything, thanks.
Dave Hodge, TSN
My thumb is down to Jimmy Graham, the New Orleans Saints' standout tight end, who is probably the best at his position in the NFL, even better than the grown-ups. Graham is responsible for the so-called "goal-post no dunking" rule because he went too far and managed to bend a goal post. Well, he hates the rule, has vowed to protest it by ignoring it, which he did twice after touchdowns on Friday night. Now, you can call it the "no fun league," you can say that pre-season games aren't to be taken too seriously and that unsportsmanlike penalties after touchdowns are no big deal, but if you play for Saints coach Sean Payton, who was suspended for a year by the NFL, you do not show up the league because you know your coach - any coach, I guess - will tear into you. That's what Payton did and Graham yelled back and a sideline shouting match ensued, during kindergarten.