Russia bringing you and your grandparents closer together

Russia bringing you and your grandparents closer together
February 9, 2014, 4:00 pm
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The Russians are serving yet again as the focal point of our disdain/revulsion, nearly 25 years after the end of communism.
Ray Ratto

Michael Sam is a football player. He is a gay man. So the answer to whether the NFL is ready to put it's bullying policy to the test runs in tandem with its ability to evaluate the player as a player. And yes, that means teams that don't draft him providing a sound football reason for not doing so. Like:

"We don't need a defensive end"

"He's undersized for our needs"

"We need a quarterback way more."

Most teams can use that third one.


The Sochi Olympics are only a few days in, but it seems clear that it has managed to do the one thing no Olympics in the previous 34 years has: Turn this generation into its grandparents.

The suppositions that the Olympics needed the evil Russian caricature to become big again seem to be true, from the mocking tone aimed at the accommodations to the rumors of Russian/American ice dance score fixing, or the generally grisly view of Vladimir Putin (which is either over the top or insufficiently hateful, depending on whether you ask John McCain), the Russians are serving yet again as the focal point of our disdain/revulsion, nearly 25 years after the end of communism.

[RELATED: Sochi Olympics Daily Recap and Medal Count: Day 2]

Now this may change as more events we care about are staged, but for the moment it is at least comforting to know that our children enjoy the same monochromatic view of the world that our parents did. Hell, if it wasn’t for the Russian State Police Choir doing “Get Lucky,” we’d have nothing but stereotype – and even then, it looked like a bunch of earnest doormen and the cast of Barney Miller getting their collective groove on, if that’s your idea of a good time.

See? Even we can’t escape it.


Damon Feldman, who set up and then cancelled the idiotic DMX-George Zimmermann fight because . . . well, because it made America throw up . . . will be back again. Right now, he’s working on a Putin-Angela Merkel punch-up for the closing ceremonies in Sochi.


Marcus Smart, the Oklahoma State player who shoved a Texas Tech fan, gets a three-game suspension. Jeff Orr, the fan in question who felt compelled to call Smart “a piece of crap,” has decided not to attend any more Tech games. That’s closer to fair than I thought this would end, and more mature than I thought Orr would be, but still not actual justice. Then again, I never expect such things to interfere with college athletics, so my jading may be more thorough than most.

[RELATED: Marcus Smart suspended for shoving fan]

Still, maybe that can be a lesson to the next fan who thinks the right to speak nonsense is the same as the obligation to speak nonsense. That Orr wasn’t overtly racist only mitigates his essential guilt. Then again, Oregon assistant coaches complained that they were spat upon by Arizona State students as they left the floor in Tempe Saturday, so never mind.


In case you were wondering, Tiger Woods cannot annex any major championships his niece Cheyenne wins on the LPGA Tour.


The hoop-de-blah over the ice dancing score-fixing story was a mild amusement, but it has nothing on SSD Bagheria of the eighth-tier Eccellenza Sicilia of Italian soccer. Playing against Borgata Terrenove in the Coppa Sicilia and losing 6-3 with 10 minutes left to play, Bagheria scored eight unanswered goals – not to win, 11-6, but to lose 14-3. Yes, those were eight own goals, needed so that Borgata could advance past Partinicaudace to the next stage of a tournament.

Borgata coach Ignazio Chianetta said, ”It had been a real contest up to a certain point then Bagheria staged a farce. Their captain told me they preferred us to qualify rather than Partinicaudace.”

It being Sicily, of course, we suspect nothing will be done. Suspicion is not usually raised until you score 10 on your own goalie.


And finally, Maurice Cheeks was fired as Pistons coach, which is, well, the way it works in Detroit. But his players found out on Twitter rather than by the interim coach, John Loyer, by general manager Joe Dumars, or even by some troublesome sportswriter. Twitter. But Dumars has fired eight coaches in 13 years, so maybe he was looking for a new way to do the same old thing.

Creative cruelty, thy name is social media.

Ray Ratto is a columnist for

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