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The Patrick Dennehy Murder Controversy

The story started when Baylor basketball player Patrick Dennehy was reported missing in June 2003. A month later, after teammate Carlton Dotson was charged for murder, Dennehy’s dead body was found in chest-high weeds. The police had been tipped off after Dotson told a cousin of his that he shot and killed Dennehy during an argument.

But the black eye didn’t end there for Baylor University’s basketball program, as Dennehy’s girlfriend reported violations to the NCAA. Investigations revealed that head coach Dave Bliss had been improperly paying for Dennehy’s tuition, had not reported players’ failed drug tests, and had told players and coaches to lie to authorities by claiming that Dennehy had been dealing drugs. The school is now under probation until 2010.

What makes it stranger: In October 2004, Dotson was deemed to be psychologically incompetent and was sent to a mental hospital where he was evaluated. He was returned to jail after doctors doubted his accounts of hallucinations, and a week before his trial was to begin, with no plea bargain in hand, Dotson pleaded guilty in the death of Patrick Dennehy. He is currently serving a 35-year jail sentence.

January 10, 2009 Posted by | basketball Controversy, Sports Controversy | , , , | Leave a comment

A glance at the Historic Boxing Controversies

Boxing’s scoring system is subjective by nature. Throw in some incompetence, not to mention corruption, and the stage is set for controversy. Here are a few examples (in chronological order):

1. London, 1908: Australia’s Reginald “Snowy” Baker, who won Silver at middleweight, was the only non-British boxer to win a medal. Baker, believing that the referee was not impartial, protested his loss in the finals to John Douglas. Sour grapes? Hardly. The referee was Douglas’ father!

2. Amsterdam, 1928: Controversial decisions led to brawls among spectators watching the fights. One such brawl came after a disputed decision went against American flyweight Hyman Miller in the first-round. The U.S. boxing team considered withdrawing from the Games but was talked out of it by Douglas MacArthur, who was – at that time – President of the U.S. Olympic Committee.

3. Berlin, 1936: Lightweight Thomas Hamilton-Brown of South Africa, after losing a first-round split decision, went on an eating binge. No big deal, right? Wrong! It was discovered that one of the judges had reversed his scores and Brown was actually the winner … but he was unable to make weight for his next bout and was disqualified!

4. Los Angeles, 1984
At the 1984 Games, Evander Holyfield represented the United States in the light heavyweight division. In the second round of his semi-final match with Kevin Barry, Holyfield was disqualified. Referee Gligorije Novicic called for a “break”, which instructs the fighters to stop punching. Holyfield, apparently, did not hear the call and threw a punch which dropped Barry to the canvas. When Barry was unable to continue, Holyfield was disqualified. A disappointed Holyfield was awarded the bronze medal.

How bad was this decision? Bad enough that the referee later apologized for being out of position when he made the “break” call. Bad enough that Gold medalist Anton Josipovic of Yugoslavia pulled Holyfield to the top of the podium to join him during the medal ceremony.

5. Seoul, 1988
Roy Jones Jr. was a very successful amateur boxer, compiling a record of 121-13. At the 1988 Games, he represented the United States in the light middleweight division. Jones won every round in dominant fashion to reach the finals. The final was no different as Jones outlanded his South Korean opponent Park Si-Hun 86-32. Unfortunately, the judges were either pressured, coerced or bribed to favor the local fighter and awarded Park an indefensible 3- 2 decision. One judge admitted the decision was a mistake and all three judges ended up being suspended.

How bad was this decision? Park reportedly congratulated Jones after the bout and admitted that the decision was wrong. The decision was bad enough that, despite winning only a Silver Medal, Jones was awarded the Val Barker Trophy as Games’ most outstanding and stylistic boxer.

The IOC – despite investigating and concluding that three of the judges were wined and dined by Korean officials – allowed the decision to stand.

November 8, 2008 Posted by | Sports Controversy | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The History of the Brett Favre Controversy

The Brett Favre Controversy is hitting the airwaves after his interview with Greta on her show – On the Record. Being one who is old enough to remember watching the Ice Bowl as a boy, and often would call Brett, Bart – by mistake through the years, I thought I would throw out a few thoughts.

There are always two sides to every story, and perhaps that is what makes this controversy so interesting. The story tellers from each side of it, Brett Favre and the Packer Organization, are usually honest and straightforward in their communication – so from my perspective there isn’t a rat hiding somewhere, it boils down to a conflict of values. Values?

Watching football through the 1960s and 1970s it was rare that a good player would change teams. Once they were established, they stuck with the organization that they found a home with.

As the years went by, things begin to change. Players begin to simply display what is common in our culture – looking out for #1. Loyalty to a company or an organization become less of a value or priority. I’m not condoning or condemning this, just observing. I can see both sides of the coin: Players should factor loyalty into their decisions; Organizations should treat their key people with respect and reward appropriately. Of course the salary cap impacted all these dealings and decisions.

Honestly, I am more old school. Before we cheese heads condemn Brett Favre if our fears of him playing for another team materialize, we should also remember Reggie White. When he first left the Eagles I questioned his loyalty factor – how, after being an Eagle all those years, could he put on another jersey? As time went on though, I embraced his role with the Packers, and loved watching him play. Subtly my values were changing with the societal swing – Reggie followed his heart and it worked out for him, the Packers, and the fans.

The Brett Favre controversy is simply exposing the value shift that has transpired and become very accepted in our culture. Look out for #1. Players are looking for the most money or the best place for them; and organizations are trading and drafting with the consideration of individual players being overshadowed by the win-loss/profit margin – simply the way business is done now.

It seems the Packer organization has moved without Brett. I will still be a Packer fan. Brett changed his mind and now wants to play, the Packers should let him, he has earned it. If they don’t want to start him, let him find another team to help. I will still be a Brett Favre fan.

When I heard about the Brett Favre controversy, initially I was disturbed. Now? I’ve decided I don’t have to choose. I am a Packer Fan – always have been, and always will be. I mean a REAL fan – I wore green & gold living near Chicago through the 80’s when the Bears were beating us up! I’ve also become a Brett Favre fan. He is fun to watch. I hope he plays next season. I hope he plays for the Packers. If he plays for another team, I will be cheering him on, and now have 2 team to cheer for. (Unless of course it is the Bears- every man has his limits.)

October 4, 2008 Posted by | Sports Controversy | , , , , | Leave a comment